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What is Gender Dysphoria?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

The medical definition of gender dysphoria is an experience of discomfort or distress due to

the incongruence between someone’s biological sex and gender identity.

So basically, you’re not comfortable being in your own body or not comfortable with people

labelling you as your assigned sex.

If we break it down, dysphoria means a state of unease - so you’re not at ease with your

current gender.

Gender dysphoria is a diagnostic term used by doctors, and the diagnosis of gender

dysphoria is required from a psychiatrist if you want to begin your medical transition, this is

usually hormone replacement therapy.

Yet gender dysphoria isn’t exclusive to trans individuals. People may experience dysphoria

in different amounts- just remember that not everyone’s experience is the same.

What can people have gender dysphoria about?

  • Their height

  • Their genitalia

  • Their voice

  • Their figure

  • And other primary and secondary sex characteristics

I think you can imagine how uncomfortable someone with dysphoria might feel, not liking

how you look and how people view you. It’s scary.

No Karen, I’m not just talking about your imperfect nose, or not quite summer ready body.

These things are related to your gender identity.

Does having gender dysphoria mean you are trans?

So, you may be sat here, reading this blog - and thinking - I may have gender dysphoria.

Does that mean I’m transgender?

Well, as I’ve mentioned, everybody views their gender differently - so even though gender

dysphoria is major sign of being transgender - it doesn’t mean you necessarily are.

The topic of gender is huge! And there are so many opinions out there - but people who may

experience gender dysphoria, whether full-time or on occasion include:


“A modern English term that an Indigenous person might identify as that comes from the

traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples in Canada/Turtle Island/North America. It can

mean a person who walks between genders; one who carries the gifts of both males and

females, or one who is gender unique (not specific to any gender) and/or as a way to identify

as 2STLGBQ+. When Europeans arrived in North America, they introduced homophobia and

transphobia to many Indigenous nations and dishonoured the idea of what it means to be

Two-Spirit. Today, many Indigenous Peoples are reclaiming the ancient understanding that

there are more than two genders.”


“Someone who does not identify as a man or a woman, or solely as one of those two

genders. It’s often used as an umbrella term for identities that fall outside the male/female

gender binary. Being non-binary means different things to different people, so this definition

is purposely broad”

Gender queer

“Someone may identify as genderqueer if their gender identity is neither male nor female, is

between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders. This identity is often related

to or in reaction to the social construction of gender, gender stereotypes and the gender

binary system.”

Gender fluid

“Gender fluid may refer to a gender which varies over time. Someone who identifies

as gender fluid may fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders at the same

time. Their gender may also vary at random or vary in response to different circumstances.”

Gender neutral

“Someone who feels they are neither male or female may identify as gender neutral.”


“Someone whose gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth might

identify as transgender. Sometimes trans or transgender gets used as an umbrella term for

gender diverse people. However, not everyone uses it to describe themselves."

There are so many different gender identities out there, I wouldn’t be able to list them all in

this one blog post - but if you are interested you can always do your own research, or let me

know if you’d like a separate blog post about assigned sex and gender.

In reality, there are so many gender identities, and if you do experience some level of

gender dysphoria then you may identify with one of these groups.

Regardless, never pressure yourself into assigning labels.

Summary of gender dysphoria

To summarise, gender dysphoria is a real thing - and some individuals can experience it on

different levels. Some, like myself, decide that they were assigned the wrong gender at birth

and make the decision to transition.

But recently, the question of can you be transgender and not experience gender dysphoria

has been brought to attention.

Can you be transgender without gender dysphoria?

If someone does not have gender dysphoria, meaning they do not experience discomfort or

distress due to the incongruence between their biological sex and gender identity - then why

would you transition?

Clearly there is nothing that transitioning could help you with if you already feel comfortable

and happy in your own body - so I don’t understand people who say that they are

transgender without ever experiencing gender dysphoria.

Personally, my gender dysphoria is relatively low compared to other trans girls, but it doesn’t

mean I don’t experience it.

We always speak about acceptance within the LGBT+ community, and personally I have

been criticised for not being accepting of trans people who do not experience gender


But it is like saying “I’m going to take insulin injections, even though I do not have diabetes”.

You cannot be prescribed onto hormone replacement therapy without being diagnosed with

gender dysphoria. Which strongly suggests that having gender dysphoria equates to being

transgender (or any other identity stated earlier).

I would like to think I am accepting of every trans individual, but I struggle to understand how

a trans person may not experience gender dysphoria to some level.

I know that this is a very controversial topic, and I would like to open up a conversation with

you about this.

Leave your thoughts and opinions about gender dysphoria down in the comments section.

No matter who you are, or how you feel - always stay true to yourself- and make yourself


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