WHAT IS GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER?
Gender Dysphoria, also known as Gender Identity Disorder is a feeling of distress, either emotionally or physiologically as a result of the sex or gender an individual was assigned at birth.
When a teen is uncomfortable or feels unhappy with his or her physical sex, the are likely suffering from gender identity disorder. This condition often manifests in children as young as two to four years of age as a desire to be, or a belief that he or she is of the opposite sex.
In many cases, the feeling of having the wrong physical sex will continue into adulthood. A transgender teen will feel increasing discomfort, even disgust with his or her body as sexual development begins.
SYMPTOMS & SIGNS
There are many symptoms & signs associated with GID. These signs may be physical, mental or behavioral in nature. Typically, a teen suffering from gender identity disorder may exhibit a range of feelings and behaviors that are confusing to parents.
These patterns typically develop in early childhood, but can also start to emerge as the adolescent grows into a young adult. If you notice that your child is avoiding school, engaging in behavior typically associated with the opposite sex, or refusing to participate in sports or activities traditionally associated with their at-birth gender role, they may be suffering from Gender Identity Disorder.
TIPS TO HELP CHILDREN SUFFERING FROM GENDER DYSPHORIA
The feeling of being trapped inside the body of the other sex causes great emotional pain. Many feel pressure from family members to conform to traditional gender roles.
Some ways you can support and become closer to your struggling LGBTQ teen:
Listen – Understand why they came out to you. Maybe they needed a shoulder to lean on, or they felt tired of “sneaking around”. Whatever the reason, take the time necessary to find & listen to their truth.
Support – Respect their feelings and their choices, do not try and “convert” your teen. Your teen trusted you – it is important to keep the communication lines open. Honor that trust and don’t break it.
Respect – Ask your teen how they would like to be addressed, and respect their pronoun preferences. Try not to favor them or treat them differently – Respect means embracing their identity regardless of their physical attributes.
Encourage – Encourage your child to be true to their inner voice. Help them find a community of like-minded people who may have shared interests or passions. Build a support group outside of therapy.
THE RIGHT HELP FOR YOUR TEEN
Polaris specializes in helping LGBTQ teens and adolescents recover from underlying mental health disorders.
Our staff has a comprehensive knowledge of Gender Dysphora and our residential therapists have the experience and background necessary to provide tailored, individualized treatment to our LGBTQ patients.