The majority of people are happy with their gender and grow up as a boy or girl with no doubts about their gender. However, 1% of people in the UK feel that they were born in the wrong body, otherwise known as gender dysphoria.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
This is where a person at any age, feel that their gender identity (boy or a girl) is not matched with the sex they were assigned at birth. A boy may identify as a girl or towards the feminine end of the spectrum – known as a trans girl, and a girl may identify as a boy or towards the masculine end of the spectrum – known as a trans boy. It is important to remember that being Trans is about gender identity and not sexual orientation, which is completely separate.
Only the person can ever determine whether they are Trans, and it is most common for the identification to take place between 10 and 20 years old. Unfortunately, many find themselves suppressing their feelings for many years. It can be a very distressing time for young people going through puberty when they see big changes in their bodies, especially if it doesn’t match your feelings about your gender.
Treatments for Gender Dysphoria
Fortunately, gender dysphoria is now recognised in the medical field and there are treatments to suppress hormonal changes. If the uncertainty begins around puberty, there can be medical intervention to suppress these changes and young people can then find relief and a better clarity to make decisions about their gender and how they want to live in adult life. These medicines can be stopped at any time with no side effects – the changes during the medication are totally reversible once the medication is stopped. It is worth noting that in the UK no surgery can be carried out under the age of 18. Some children who show gender variant behaviour don’t always enter adulthood being trans, as they may find themselves growing out of these feelings, whilst others find they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. The number of people seeking treatment each year is growing.
The Struggles of Gender Dysphoria
Common terms used are – transgender or trans, along with gender nonconforming and gender variant. There are some people who feel they are not really either a boy or a girl and would be described as non binary.
Speaking with people who consider themselves as transgender, such as Debbie, will often say that they knew from an early age but were unable to speak to anyone about how they felt. Some will say that they didn’t become fully aware until they hit puberty. Many trans people will identify with repressing their feelings for many years, through confusion, shame or trying to be what they think others expect them to be. This can lead people to live with extreme stress due to the fact that they are hiding their identity. Some trans people get married and have families because they feel it’s what they should be doing or feel under pressure to conceal their secret.
The First Steps of Gender Dysphoria
It is important to find someone you can speak to, whether it is a family member, friend, teacher, peer or doctor. There are also lots of support groups and online forums that you can seek help from. If a person decides to change their gender role this is known as ‘transition’. This may start with changing your name and the clothes you wear. It may also mean cutting or growing your hair – some people report that these are the first vital things they do and with this comes acceptance from those around them.
If you’re in transition, thinking about starting it or would like to explore your options, please contact Simone Thomas for a confidential consultation in a comfortable setting. We are a transgender hair salon in Bournemouth that specialise in transgender hair including transgender wigs to to help a male to female or female to male transformation.