How to Identify Gender Dysphoria in Children

Gender dysphoria occurs when individuals feel their assigned gender isn’t correct. While it can manifest at any age, recognizing gender dysphoria in children requires sensitivity and awareness. Identifying these feelings can be crucial for providing support and fostering a healthy sense of self. Here are ways to identify gender dysphoria.

Expression and Preferences

One of the earliest signs of gender dysphoria is their expression and preferences. Pay attention to how a child dresses, the toys they prefer, and the activities they enjoy. A child experiencing gender dysphoria may express a strong desire to be recognized as a gender different from their assigned one. For instance, a boy may insist on wearing dresses, or a girl may reject traditionally feminine clothing.

Verbal Expression

Children often communicate their feelings through words. A child experiencing gender dysphoria may express a deep discomfort with their assigned gender or insist that they are not the gender others perceive them to be. Listen to their statements about their gender identity and observe whether these expressions remain consistent over time.

Social Interaction

Gender dysphoria in children can impact their social interactions. Pay attention to their relationships with peers and adults. Children with gender dysphoria may feel isolated or misunderstood. Additionally, they may prefer the company of those who affirm their gender identity. Watch for signs of withdrawal, anxiety, or depression related to social situations.

Body Image and Discomfort

Physical discomfort with one’s body is a common aspect of gender dysphoria. Children may express dissatisfaction with their biological sex characteristics. This discomfort can manifest in a variety of ways, such as refusing to wear specific clothing, expressing distress about puberty, or showing discomfort with their anatomy.

Contact the International Center for Transgender Care to learn more about gender dysphoria in children or schedule quality transgender care services.

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