Gender Dysphoria: What Is It?

Gender dysphoria is extreme discomfort caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender at birth (called assigned gender) and the gender they feel themselves to be (affirmed gender). Children with gender dysphoria experience great anguish as a result of feeling “trapped” inside a body that does not match the gender that feels right to them. The severity of the suffering these children feel can lead to anxiety and depression, as well as a high risk of self-injury and suicide.

Gender dysphoria was created as a distinct disorder to clarify that being transgender, or identifying as a gender different from the one of your birth, is not in itself a psychiatric disorder. The new disorder was meant to remove the stigma from being transgender, and to shift the concern of mental health professionals to assisting those for whom the experience of being transgender has resulted in significant distress and impaired functioning.