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Dysphoria means feeling distressed or uneasy. Gender dysphoria is a feeling of emotional distress because your inner sense of your gender (gender identity) doesn't match the sex that you were assigned at birth.
For transgender people, their gender identity doesn't align with the sex that they were assigned at birth. Non-binary people identify outside of the gender binary (man or woman). For non-binary people, their gender identity may be between gender categories, may shift, or may include multiple genders. Many, but not all, transgender and non-binary people have gender dysphoria.
Symptoms of gender dysphoria may include feeling:
If you're openly transgender or non-binary, you may feel extra stress because of discrimination in the community. If you're not openly transgender or non-binary, you may have stress from hiding who you really are. Rejection, prejudice, and fear can cause long-term stress.
Gender dysphoria may be diagnosed when you talk with your doctor about feeling upset or distressed that your gender identity isn't the same as your sex assigned at birth. Children with gender dysphoria may have similar feelings as adults, including feeling upset about parts of their body that don't match their gender identity.
Usually, gender dysphoria is treated by helping someone affirm their gender identity through finding ways to express it.
The types of things that help someone express their gender can vary from person to person. They can also be different for children and young people than for adults.
Non-medical options for expressing gender identity may include:
Medical options may include:
Many, but not all, transgender and non-binary people have gender dysphoria. It may take time to adjust when you learn that someone you care about has gender dysphoria. But even if you're adjusting, there are things you can do to help the person who has this condition.
Gender dysphoria can cause great distress. Feeling loved, supported, and accepted can help.
Organizations such as PFLAG can help. Go to their website at www.pflagcanada.ca to find a list of other useful groups. Or visit ahs.ca/lgbtq2s for information from Alberta Health Services.
Adaptation Date: 5/3/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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