In the US, transsexuals must jump through many hoops and red tape in order be approved for surgery. It is a several year-long process. The first step is to be diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” – persistent discomfort about one’s biological sex, or the belief that one should be another sex. Gender dysphoria can be diagnosed in children if six of the following characteristics are met: strong desire to be of another gender; a strong preference for cross-dressing in boys; a strong preference for cross-gender rolls; a strong preference for toys, games, and activities associated with the opposite sex; a strong preference for playmates of another gender; in boys, a strong rejection of typically masculine toys and activities; a strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy; a strong desire for the sex characteristics of the opposite gender.
Generally, boys with gender dysphoria more often turn out to be homosexual than transexual; however, the large majority of adults with gender dysphoria develop this characteristic as a child. Given that most children with gender dysphoria grow into emotionally healthy adults, there is some controversy about the inclusion of child gender dysphoria in the DSM-5. In fact, when children with gender dysphoria are brought in for counselling, it is often the parents who receive the most counseling.
In adults, gender dysphoria can be diagnosed if two of the following traits are present: an incongruence between the person’s sexual gender and his perceived gender; a strong desire to be rid of one’s sex characteristics; a strong desire for the sex characteristics of the opposite sex; a strong desire to be of the other gender; a strong desire to be treated as the other gender; a strong conviction that one has feelings of the other gender.
After an adult is diagnosed with gender dysphoria, he must undergo years of therapy, including a year of living as the other sex. Only after all these years of hard work can the transsexual be approved by insurance for gender reassignment surgery.
Disclaimer: I apologize for the male (or male->female) leaning of this post. I’m making these posts to help me study for my Abnormal Psychology class, and the book was mainly about men on this subject.
This is a series of posts summarizing what I’m learning in my Abnormal Psychology course. Much of the information provided comes from reading my James N. Butcher’s textbook Abnormal Psychology. To read the other posts, follow these links:
The Definition of Abnormal
A History of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal Psychology in Contemporary Society
Contemporary Viewpoints on Treating Mental Illness – Biology
Contemporary Viewpoints on Treating Mental Illness – Psychology
Frontline: New Asylums
Brave New Films: This is Crazy
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Biological Assessment
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Psychological Assessment
Does the DSM Encourage Overmedication?
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome – The Basics
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Hoarding and Body Dysmorphic Disorders
Depression – an Overview
Personality Disorders – Clusters and Dimensions
Personality Disorders – Cluster A
Personality Disorders – Cluster B
Personality Disorders – Cluster C
Biological Effects of Stress on Your Body
Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
Borderline Personality Disorder
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Gender Dysphoria – Homosexuality and Transgender
Bipolar Disorder – The Basics
Suicide – An Overview
Butcher, James N. Hooley, Jill M. Mineka, Susan. (2014) Chapter 12: Sexual Variance, Abuse, and Dysfunctions. Abnormal Psychology, sixteenth edition (pp. 405-442). Pearson Education Inc.