The term children and the term Gender Dysphoria in the same sentence makes for one of the most controversial sentences known to man. In some, it sparks compassion and sympathy while in others, it sparks fury and outrage that a parent, school or community would support a life altering decision at such a young age. Despite what we think, or how we feel about Gender Dysphoria, it is here. Our children are suffering with the condition and its our duty to be informed about the condition, and support our children the best way we know how.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender Dysphoria is a term used to describe a condition whereby an individuals psychological identity does not align with their biological identity of male or female. What is known about Gender Dysphoria? Due to insufficient research in relation to gender dysphoria, it is important to recognise, that little is still known about the condition, its causes and the best methods of treatment. What we do know about Gender Dysphoria is how it impacts an individual and their ability to cope and function 'normally.' We know:
- It can cause extremely intense emotional and psychological discomfort.
- It can severely impact an individuals ability to physically, emotionally and psychologically develop.
- It hinders a persons ability to connect with others and build healthy relationships and thrive in social environments.
- Not all people who experience Gender Dysphoria desire to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
The most important thing we know about Gender Dysphoria is, although it is an extremely complex disorder that requires intense intervention and careful diagnosis and treatment, people who suffer from the condition can go on to live full and happy lives.
What we don't know about Gender Dysphoria?
- The Prevalence of Gender Dysphoria in Australia
Although there are some statistics in relation to Gender Dysphoria, the information available to us is inadequate to draw a conclusion on the true prevalence of Gender Dysphoria in Australia.
- The Cause of Gender Dysphoria Despite a lot of research in recent years, there is no single cause of Gender Dysphoria that is widely agreed upon. Recent research suggests that the cause could be hormonal and that there may be additional hormones present in the mothers system as a result of; drugs, alcohol or medication. Other studies suggest that Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome may be the cause and that it may be a foetus' insensitivity to the transfer of a mothers hormones that causes the condition. Additionally, the root cause of Gender Dysphoria may in fact be, other emotional and psychological issues. Recent research undertaken by 200 individuals who identify as homosexual found that individuals who struggle to cope with their homosexuality, may develop Gender Dysphoria. Other causes that are also not yet substantiated by research include wider social and medical issues where an individuals desire to 'fit in' with society may contribute to the development of Gender Dysphoria.
- The treatment for Gender Dysphoria It is little surprise, that considering we know so little about the cause of Gender Dysphoria, that we also know very little about treatment options and the outcomes of treatment. Although there are many people worldwide who have undergone gender reassignment surgery and evidence suggests that their psychological and emotional health has improved, the success of gender reassignment surgery is unknown. Treatment options other than gender reassignment surgery are also unknown. At this time, there is no evidence that suggests that gender dysphoria can be successfully treated in the long-term with medication or surgery. The most important message
The most important message to take away is that, there is a lot we don't know. We don't know the cause of the condition, how to treat the condition effectively, and we cannot substantiate claims that the ways in which we are currently treating the condition will be successful long-term. What is more important then what we don't know, is what we do. We know that individuals who suffer from this condition can live full and happy lives but they need our support. We have a duty to educate ourselves on issues that impact those around us the most. Until more information is available to us, we must use what we do know about the impact of psychological conditions associated with; identity, gender, disassociation and emotional and psychological issues to our advantage. We must do our best to help all our children, colleagues, friends and family and people we engage with live their best lives and reach their full potential. For the most up-to-date research relating to Gender Dysphoria and new information about the causes and treatment of the condition visit the American Psychiatric Association. Welcommunity provides the most up-to-date training on strategies schools and other organisations can implement in order to improve services provided to individuals suffering with Gender Dysphoria. For more information on online training or workplace-based professional development, please contact us directly via email at; firstname.lastname@example.org