Gender dysphoria is about feeling as though your biological gender doesn’t reflect your gender identity and it can be a difficult experience. Studies have shown that transgender or trans people are more likely to experience discrimination, violence and harassment, and a 2007 survey suggested that around a third of trans people had attempted suicide – a rate much higher than in the general population. For all of these reasons, attending gender dysphoria counselling in Luton and Dunstable can be beneficial if you’re having difficulty as a result of your gender identity.
Understanding Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria occurs because a person’s biological gender (the set of sexual organs they were born with) doesn’t always reflect their gender identity (the gender they feel as though they are part of). Somebody with male anatomy, for example, might identify as woman, or even as neither male nor female. There are some misconceptions about gender dysphoria, though: it’s in no way related to sexual orientation, and not all people with gender dysphoria choose to have treatment or alter their appearance to be more congruent with their gender identity (although those with a persistent desire to live according to their gender identity often do). The “dysphoria” actually refers to the distress and unpleasant emotions which accompany the mismatch between biological gender and gender identity.
Symptoms of Gender Dysphoria in Children
Many children go through a period of identifying with their non-biological gender, but in the majority of cases, the sense of identifying with another gender disappears as he or she approaches puberty. If your child has symptoms of gender dysphoria, such as a preference for cross-dressing, rejection of toys or pastimes typically associated with their biological gender and a preference for those associated with the other gender, a dislike of their own sexual anatomy and repeatedly expressing a desire to be the opposite sex, then gender dysphoria counselling may be beneficial.
Gender Dysphoria Counselling and Treatment
There are many reasons that gender dysphoria counselling may be useful for people experiencing it. Counselling gives you a safe space to explore what you’re feeling and somewhere to consider your gender identity before committing to more long-term physical changes. For children, this approach is particularly valuable, because it provides emotional and psychological support, and can help young people cope with gender dysphoria without committing to long-term changes they may regret by the time they reach puberty.
The discrimination, bullying, violence and lack of understanding many transgender people experience from strangers, friends and relatives can also be very distressing, and counselling can offer you support and teach useful techniques to help you cope more effectively. “Coming out” as trans can also be a stressful time, and counselling can offer much-needed support while you go through the process. There are many support groups that can also help with issues like this, including the Beaumont Society, but counselling offers one-to-one support in a more private setting. In any case, remember that support is available, and don’t hesitate to make use of it if you’re having difficulty.
There are also many different approaches that can be used to help you change your physical appearance to more closely reflect your gender identity, including hormone therapy and surgery. Your GP should be able to refer you to a gender identity clinic to discuss these options further.
If you’re unsure about what to do about your gender identity, want support as you come out to friends and family or are having difficulty dealing with discrimination, attending gender dysphoria counselling in Luton and Dunstable can be very beneficial. If you’re considering getting support, but have some questions about what happens in counselling, or would like any more information about what we do, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! For more information about our costs for gender dysphoria counselling services please see the about us page.