Gender Dysphori American Psychiatric Association

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Gender Dysphoria (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), or Transsexualism (International Classification of Diseases, 2015), is defined as an individual whose sexual characteristics do not correspond to their gender identity. It is this contradiction that leads those experiencing it to feel a dysphoria, a state of unease or dissatisfaction. These individuals seek to alleviate this feeling by being accepted by, and live as, the sex that corresponds to their gender identity (Dhejne, Lichtenstein, Boman, Johansson, Långström, & Landén, 2011). But, just because the individual wants to live as and be accepted by the gender they identify with, does not mean that they will conform to the gender’s stereotype. For example, it cannot be said that everyone who experiences gender dysphoria – in line with the diagnostic criteria set by the APA or ICD – chooses to operate so that their body resembles the sex that they identify with. On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest that only a select amount of transsexual men opt to undergo genital surgery (Cromwell, 1999). In addition, if living as a specific gender is a major concern for transsexual individuals, it is interesting to note that a substantial amount of transsexuals continue to identify as transsexual, even after having gone through sex reassignment surgery (Bornstien, 1994). To assume that one needs to embody all the characteristics of the sex they choose to live as would be to undermine the diversity that exists within each sex. As Fausto-Sterling (2000) points out, physical attributes are more widely dispersed within the genders than they are between them. It would be a fallacy to assume that people cannot identify with a particular sex even though they do not conform to all ... ... middle of paper ... ...e can identify with an aspect of their being that does not include the body assumes that there is a distinction between the body and the mind, sometimes referred to as Cartesian dualism. For those espousing this dualism, “the assumption is that identity is located in consciousness, and that the body is simply a material receptacle that houses the mind and spirit” (Sullivan, 2003, p.41). This suggests that one’s identity is not bound to their body, that the individual can have an identity that exists in their mind regardless of the material aspects of their person. This approach indicates that there exists a free will to liberate one’s self from his or her assigned sex and all that it entails. It presumes that one’s identity is created and maintained outside the influences of the cultural categories of identity, a notion that poststructuralist theorists would resist.

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