All Topics

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
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Linked to Changes in Medication Use Among People with Serious Mental Illness

People with serious mental illness exposed to direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of medications are more likely to stop taking their medications than those not exposed to the advertising, according to new research published in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

  • 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.

Upcoming Events
National Call-in Support Group
  • Thur,  Mar  01
  • 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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

Find local support groups
  • Thur,  Mar  01 - Sat,  Mar  31

PFLAG (the extended family of the LGBTQ community)

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?”.

Read More

Have a Story of Your Own to Share?

Editor's Choice

JAN 14, 2018

The Clinician's Role in the Ethics Behind Gender-Affirming Treatments

The McGill International Review

One of the most progressive areas of modern medicine is that which involves gender-affirming treatments. In recent years, as its availability has increased, many ethical questions have emerged. Is the diagnosis of gender identity helpful to the patient or does it prove to be more harmful than not? When is the best time to start the course of treatment? A clinician must thus thoroughly inform the patient of the risks, effectiveness, limitations and the physiological and psychological effects associated with gender-affirming treatment before following through with it.

JAN 6, 2018

Journey to comfort not easy

Albany Times Union

Mariah eventually agreed to the paper's use of its own more realistic photographs, in keeping with journalistic protocol. Her concern over her image is nonetheless telling in light of her journey, which has much to do with how she is perceived. What the 23-year-old wants is to shout out that she is a successful woman who is comfortable in her own skin. Having overcome hurdles in her transition from a man, she sees herself as a role model for transgender people working to conform their internal sense of gender to their appearance.

DEC 31, 2017

Military to Allow Transgender Recruits


Transgender people are now allowed to enlist in the military. Aaron Belkin of The Palm Center tells guest host Lauren Frayer about new guidelines issued for how to treat potential enlistees. The Defense Department has issued new guidelines for how to treat potential enlistees with dignity and respect. Aaron Belkin is the executive director of the Palm Center, which advocates for transgender people. He says medical examiners will evaluate applicants with gender dysphoria the same way as everybody else.