Understanding Gender Dysphoria and Its Treatment in Children and Adolescents

Apr 30, 2019 by

by Monique Robles, Public Discourse:

In an era of evidence-based medicine, gender dysphoria is somehow exempt.

As a pediatric critical care physician, I became interested in the topic of gender dysphoria while pursuing further studies in bioethics. Gender dysphoria was not a topic I encountered during my medical school and residency training. I began to wonder: how have over forty gender identity clinics associated with children’s hospitals appeared in just over a decade?

Evolution of the Diagnosis

The diagnosis of gender dysphoria was previously known as gender identity disorder, categorized with sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias. The new term was introduced in DSM-5, which was published in 2013. Gender dysphoria is described as a distressing conflict the individual experiences between one’s biological sex and the gender with which he or she identifies. Gender dysphoric individuals often experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations.

The new diagnostic term was introduced in order to reduce the stigma associated with gender dysphoria by “depathologizing” the condition. Gender dysphoria is presented as a normal variation in human experience, not a mental illness. The distress accompanying gender dysphoria is presented as the result not of patients’ psychological difficulties but their lack of social acceptance. So why keep the diagnosis in DSM-5, if we are to see gender dysphoria as a normal variation and not a mental health concern? According to one psychiatrist who helped write the criteria for the DSM-5, the goal is to maintain gender dysphoria as a psychiatric diagnosis in order to allow continued access to health care services.

Troublingly, the defining criteria are all subjective, based on a child’s preferences, desires, or dislikes. The diagnostic criteria have really produced an even greater dichotomy between male and female stereotypes.

Read here

Watch: Transgender Regret – A Dutch Documentary (with subtitles)



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