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Help With Gender Dysphoria

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Nov 30, 2017
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  • Nov 15, 2017
Effective Messages to Fight Stigma

Despite increasing public awareness and discussion about mental illness and substance use disorders, stigma is still a major barrier to many people seeking treatment. New research has identified communication strategies that are effective in reducing stigma and increasing public support for policies and programs benefitting people with behavioral health conditions.

  • Oct 16, 2017
Focus on Preventing Bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a national public awareness campaign led by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center.

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Gender Spectrum National Call-in Support Group
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

Occurs on the last Wednesday of each month from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Gender Spectrum)

PFLAG - Find local support groups
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PFLAG (the extended family of the LGBTQ community)

Esprit 2019
  • Port Angeles, Wash.
  • Sun,  May  12 - Sun,  May  19

One of the nation’s leading transgender conferences.

LGBT Pride Month
  • Sat,  Jun  01 - Sun,  Jun  30

What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

Transgender is a non-medical term that has been used increasingly since the 1990s as an umbrella term describing individuals whose gender identity (inner sense of gender) or gender expression (outward performance of gender) differs from the sex or gender to which they were assigned at birth. Some people who use this term do not consider themselves as matching a binary gender category. In addition, new terms such as genderqueer, bigendered, and agendered are increasingly in use.

Transsexual is a historic, medical term that refers to individuals who have undergone some form of medical and/or surgical treatment for gender reassignment (historically referred to as sex reassignment). Some transsexual individuals may identify as transgender, although others primarily identify as the male or female gender to which they have transitioned.

People who identify as transgender but who do not seek medical or surgical treatment are not transsexual.

Is there a general age that people realize they are transgender or experience gender dysphoria? Can it happen late in life?

Not all transgender people suffer from gender dysphoria and that distinction is important to keep in mind. Gender dysphoria and/or coming out as transgender can occur at any age.

The DSM-5 distinguishes between Gender Dysphoria in Childhood for those who experience GD before puberty. The diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Adults can occur at any age. For those who experience gender dysphoria later in life, they often report having secretly hidden their gender dysphoric feelings from others when they were younger.

About the Experts:


Jack Drescher, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York Medical College
Adjunct Professor, New York University


Jack Pula, M.D.
Psychiatrist in private practice in New York City

Transgender Non-Conforming Youth: One Experience of Many

My fourth child is a transgender boy, and I love him. At 2 he climbed up on the kitchen counter when his dad and I were doing the dishes.

He refused to toilet train until we bought him boxers. Desperate for him to toilet train so he could start preschool at 3, we did. We were dismayed to see him freeze when he was asked to use pink scissors or line up with the girls in PE, and mortified to overhear other parents ask each other, “What kind of parents would name a boy Samantha?”.

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APR 9, 2019

Illinois to Ensure Medicaid Coverage of Gender-Affirming Surgery


Illinois' Medicaid program will soon ensure coverage of gender-affirming surgeries for transgender adults who meet certain diagnostic criteria, the state's Department of Healthcare and Family Services said in a release. The department is developing rules for the coverage, and it's likely to be adopted this summer, according to the release. Medicaid members must be at least 21 years old and have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. 

MAR 19, 2019

Journal Issues Revised Version of Controversial Paper that Questioned Why Some Teens Identify as Transgender

Chronicle of Higher Ed

Following a review that lasted more than six months, the journal PLOS ONE has published a revised version of a controversial paper by a Brown University researcher on whether social media and the influence of friends lead some teenagers to identify as transgender — a theory that's been dubbed Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. The new version adds context and softens language that drew complaints from transgender advocates, but the primary findings in the paper remain unchanged.

MAR 11, 2019

I Use Gender-Neutral Pronouns & Here's How You Can Respect That

Elite Daily

Gender-neutral pronouns might seem like a new invention that are difficult to use at first. But whether you know it or not, you already use them every day to talk about someone whose gender you don’t know. (Me: "Do you mind if my friend joins us for dinner tonight?" You: "Sure! What's their name? What do they like to eat?") For years, my non-binary friends asked to be called “they” instead of “he” or “she,” but to me, it just felt too awkward to say consistently. But these days, I use gender-neutral pronouns myself, so I understand why it’s important to get it right.