Gender dysphoria in children usually develops by age two (2) to three (3) years old.
Gender Dysphoria Symptoms in Children
Children who have gender dysphoria may do the following:
- Prefer cross-dressing;
- Insist that they are of the other sex;
- Wish that they would wake up as the other sex;
- Prefer participating in games and activities associated with the other sex; and/or
- Have negative feelings toward their genitals.
- A young girl may:
- Insist she will grow a penis and become a boy; and
- Stand to urinate.
- A boy may:
- Fantasise about being female and avoid rough-and-tumble play and competitive games.
- Sit to urinate and wish to be rid of his penis and testes.
- For boys with gender dysphoria, distress at the physical changes of puberty is often followed by a request for treatment that will make their body more like a woman’s.
However, most children who prefer activities considered to be more appropriate for the other sex (called gender-nonconforming behaviour) do not have gender dysphoria.
And, very few of the children actually diagnosed with gender dysphoria remain gender dysphoric as adults.
As a result, there is controversy around whether or when to support a child’s social and/or medical transition to the other gender.
Gender Dysphoria Symptoms in Adults
Although most transsexuals began having symptoms of gender dysphoria or began feeling different in early childhood, some do not acknowledge these feelings until adulthood.
Individuals, usually men, may be cross-dressers first and not acknowledge their identification with the other sex until later in life.
Some of these men marry women or take stereotypically masculine jobs as a way to escape or deny their feelings of wanting to be the other sex.
Once they accept these feelings, many publicly adopt a satisfying and convincing feminine gender role, with or without hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery.
Others experience problems, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal behaviour.
The stress of not being accepted by society and/or by family may cause or contribute to these problems.