Gender Dysphoria: What to Look For

Children who have gender dysphoria have a disconnect between the gender they are assumed by others to be, based on sex characteristics and the gender they feel themselves to be. In childhood some show a strong preference for dress, toys, and activities associated with the other gender, and they may assert that they are the other gender or will grow up to be the other gender. But other individuals present as their assigned gender during childhood, or stay gender neutral as children, showing no strong preference for things or roles associated with either gender.  But as they reach adolescence they may express a strong dislike of their own sexual anatomy and a strong desire to have sex characteristics of their experienced gender. This may come as a complete surprise to their parents. It’s not gender dysphoria unless the incongruity causes them significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.