Shelby Cook, LISW-S
How to Address Gender Dysphoria
Image Text: Gender dysphoria
Image Link: https://www.pexels.com/photo/inscription-gender-is-a-spectrum-made-of-scrabble-letters-against-pink-background-6156944/
When a child is born, doctors assign them a gender based on their genitals. In some cases, these individuals experience discomfort and distress with their assigned gender and sexual orientation or gender identity. This condition is medically known as gender dysphoria. According to a study, 78% of transgender men and 73% of transgender women first experienced gender dysphoria at age 7. These people experience severe psychological and emotional distress, leading to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Gender dysphoria can hinder your self-worth and ability to love and trust others. This article will teach you four strategies on how to address Gender Dysphoria.
1. Buy and Wear Gender-Affirming Clothes and Give Yourself a Makeover
Appearance can greatly impact how intense a person’s gender dysphoria can get on a regular basis. Thus, gender presentation can alleviate anxiety triggered by the mental disorder. Here are some ideas:
- Makeup and Hair: You can learn to put on makeup, get a haircut, or buy a wig.
- Clothing: Purchase comfortable clothes that align with how you feel. For example, wear female clothing if you are a boy but are more inclined toward feminine traits.
- Gear: If you aren’t comfortable with your physical appearance, purchase gear to help you change your body’s appearance. Wearing padding, packer, binders, and other garments can make you feel more comfortable and confident with your body.
If you aren’t ready to take this step in public, try wearing gender-affirming clothes or items under your outfit when alone. Let this become a meditative or therapeutic routine to cope.
2. Find a Support Group or Go to Therapy
Support groups or therapies can be excellent resources to help you cope with gender dysphoria. Talking to people with the same condition can teach you ways to better manage gender dysphoria. For example, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can help a child understand that what they are feeling is normal and learn skills to feel better about themselves.
3. Create a “Coping Care Pack”
Make a portable coping care pouch to improve self-control and prevent yourself from feeling anxious when in public. This pack can include things or small supplies that help deal with gender dysphoria, such as a picture of your pet or loved one, affirmation cards, lip balm, or a sensory toy.
4. Practice Self Love and Mindfulness
Stand in front of a mirror and say, “My body and gender don’t define me.” Say it out loud and remember the things that you love about yourself. Do practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation.
Ending Note – Be Proud of Yourself
Whether you are younger than 18 or older, the gender transition journey isn’t easy. Every stage and age has its fair share of challenges. Thus, the best thing that you can do is love yourself for who you are and be proud regardless of gender. Practice the above-mentioned tips to deal with gender dysphoria. If you need professional help, visit a psychologist or psychotherapist. The healthcare providers will advise you to take hormone therapy, cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, or even get surgery, depending on your age and mental state. Remember that not all people who experience gender dysphoria are transgender, and not everyone who is Trans has gender dysphoria.
Image Text: Gender dysphoria
Image Link: https://www.pexels.com/photo/progress-pride-flag-12289210/
Cedars Sinai. (2020). Most Gender Dysphoria Established by Age 7, Study Finds. Retrieved from Cedars Sinai
National Library of Medicine (NIH). (2015). Mental Health and Gender Dysphoria: A Review of the Literature. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine (NIH)