The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)* has added Gender Dysphoria. (It used to be listed as Gender Identity Disorder.) People with the disorder identify and think they are another sex rather than the one of their assigned gender.

Adults and adolescents may feel they are not distinguished by the proper sex. (People who have Gender Dysphoria are not born with any of several variations in sex characteristics, such as chromosomes, genitalia and sex hormones.) The individuals who are diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria undergo suffering and problems on the job, in relationships with others and in other parts of their lives.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Gender Dysphoria affects an estimated 0.005 to 0.014 percent of adults who were born as males. The estimates are between 0.002 to 0.003 percent for adults who were born as females.

*The DSM-5 is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Signs of Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Adults DSM-5 302.85 F64.1

To identify Gender Dysphoria in adults and adolescents, the DSM-5 notes that there is a conspicuous or evident discrepancy with the gender the individual thinks he is and what the culture recognizes. The difference must be evident for a minimum of half a year and have at least two criteria, according to the APA.

The criteria are:

  • Obvious discrepancy in the gender the individual identifies with and his designated gender.
  • He has an extreme want to hide or cover his assigned sex appearance.
  • He has a powerful want to show the sex features of the opposite gender.
  • He has a serious desire to convert to another gender.
  • He has an intense desire for others to consider him as the other gender.
  • He is passionately sure that he has the emotions and reactions that the other gender has.
  • The individual is experiencing anxiety that is causing problems in relationships, with a career and in other parts of his life.

Treatment for Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Adults DSM-5 302.85 F64.1

When an individual is diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria sooner, it helps in lessening depression, distress and the possibility of attempts of committing suicide. (It is important to note that Gender Dysphoria is not the same as homosexuality.) Each person is different, and some are happy to cross dress, and other people may seek a total change, such as surgery to change the gender assignment.

Therapy should focus on how the individual is able to manage the problems he most probably will face with Gender Dysphoria. The individual should have a network of family members and others close to him for support.

Couples therapy helps, especially because it provides safe surroundings to be able to talk about the difficulties and distress the individual and his partner encounter. Group therapy is helpful, because the person has a network of others to support him and understand his difficulties. It also provides a setting that allows him to feel less isolated.

In addition, hormone therapy may be a benefit.

Well-Known People Who Have Undergone Sex Changes

Many people have had sex changes that made them famous, and others were already well-known before they decided to have surgery. From surgeons to performers to activists, the following people have gone under the knife for gender transformation surgery.

  • Christine Jorgensen is significant in this story, because she was one of the very first individuals to have surgery for a sex change in the 1950s. Before she had surgery, she had worked as a clerk in the army.
  • Patricia and David Arquette aren’t the only entertainers in the Arquette family. Their sister, Alexis Arquette, is a cabaret star who had surgery to transform from male to female. The documentary, “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother,” portrays her transformation.
  • Isis King was on “America’s Next Top Model” as the inaugural transgender competitor, moving up to the All-Star challenge. Born as a male, she had hormone treatment in order to transform into a female in 2007.
  • The face of several high-end makeup companies, including M.A.C. Cosmetics and CAMP Cosmetics, as well as being a performer, Amanda Lepore was born as Armand. She had an operation for gender reconstruction at 17 years old.
  • Sonny and Cher aren’t the only names known to the public. Chaz Bono had surgery to be transitioned to a male in 2008. Chaz is currently an activist for gay rights.
  • You may not know her as Larry, but that’s what Lana Wachowski was named at birth. She is known in the film world, especially for her direction in the movie, “The Matrix.” In 2008, she transformed to female. She received the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.
  • Janet Mock talked about being transgender in an issue of Marie Claire magazine. The editor declared that she was transgender in 2011.
  • Laverne Cox stars in “Orange is the New black.” She made history by being the first African-American transgender to star on a reality program, “I Wanna Work for Diddy.” Interestingly enough, it is her brother—a twin—that plays her role before she makes the transformation on “Orange is the New Black.”
  • She is the person who led the surgery for Isis King and many others. Marci Bowers, M.D., the first transgender woman to perform these types of surgeries, was born as Mark.

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