Everything You Need To Know About Gender Identity (Part Three)
The plurality of gender identities has been around forever, but it is a concept that has become much more widely understood in recent years. In fact, it was only in 2019 that the World Health Organization removed the term “trans identity” from the list of mental disorders. Until then, having a gender identity different from the sex assigned at birth was considered a condition.
The LGBT+ communities have been a driving force behind these advances, and with them comes a whole new vocabulary of clarifying identity realities. However, defining one’s gender identity is not always easy. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know about gender identity.
1. What is gender dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is a term used to describe the discomfort, anxiety, and emotional suffering some people experience when their birth sex and body do not match their psychological sex. It is a term usually used by health professionals to refer to this psychological turmoil.
When the incongruity experienced is significant to the point of causing significant disability or distress, psychological support is necessary, particularly to diagnose and manage the person: the symptoms are sometimes severe and generally mix GAD, depressive manifestations, and strong irritability.
In these cases, transitioning can help the person get better because it allows them to finally be aligned. Transitioning offers the opportunity to change one or more dimensions (social, legal, medical, and surgical) to match the desired identity and to achieve true comfort in the quality of life, but also a better chance of success.
2. Is a gender transition a transformation?
Transition is the term used to describe the stages of gender change and gender affirmation. It is not, therefore, a transformation per se that would mean dealing with a different person. Obviously, a gender transition will impact many areas, such as family life, work, and social life.
But it is not so much a transformation that takes place as a true self-realization: an affirmation of one’s personal and profound identity takes place, and the fact of transitioning helps people feel more true to who they are.
This is why it is up to each person to define what they want through their transition to understand what they are looking for. Some people will no longer identify themselves as transgender after having gone through social or medical stages. For others, the transition is a long process with no end. Once again, there is no standardization or obligation but a diversity of perspectives.
Indeed, transition paths take place for reasons related to psychological health and well-being, especially in the case of dysphoria, which strongly impacts the individual. To achieve gender euphoria, surgeries may be necessary for some, while others will achieve it using only clothing or accessories.
Medical transitions involve direct bodily changes (facial feminization, mammoplasty, phalloplasty…). Social transitions take place to have one’s gendered identity recognized, for example, by asserting the pronouns to be used and by freely expressing one’s gender in one or more spheres.
3. How do I talk about my new gender identity to those around me?
If the idea of coming out causes anxiety, asking yourself a few questions can help you prepare for this exchange. It is possible to reflect on one’s expectations regarding this upcoming discussion:
- What are my motivations?
- In what context will I feel most comfortable doing this?
- Why am I talking to these particular people?
- What is my message? Do I have specific expectations (e.g., pronouns)?
- What questions should I prepare for?
- What emotions am I likely to feel?
Sometimes you must trust yourself, listen to your intuition, and let your heart speak. It is normal to fear the reaction of others, especially when they are dear to us and important to us: it is human to want the people we love to adhere to our ideas and behaviors. There are two risks:
- Not addressing the subject for fear of offending the other person
- Forcing the issue in reaction
- Provoking an overreaction
It is important to keep in mind that if the process is not easy for oneself, it may not be easy for those around us. Many people are still unaware of the fact that there is a wide range of genders and orientations.
This is why, sometimes, it can result in a misunderstanding on their part: in this case, it is essential to give time to the other person: one should not always try to convince those who do not want to be convinced. Whatever happens, and even if the person receiving the information expresses perplexity or fear, this should never justify violence in any form and respect remains essential.
Sound off in the comments section below, and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about gender identity.