Gender identity is defined as one’s innermost concept of oneself as male, female, transgender or blends of both or neither sex. It relies on how individuals perceive themselves.
The term gender identity itself conflates sex and gender. It may be an internal identity or feeling of identification with the roles, activities, values and behaviors attributed to and deemed appropriate for women or men, or biological sex. For some, it is considered independent from both biological sex and gendered socialization.
The American Psychological Association notes that when one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, i.e. dysphoric, the individual may identify and transsexual or transgender and seek transition to the opposite sex.
Ex) transgender women feel that they are female, some identify with and present femininity, some seek surgery to conform to ideas of what women look like
In summary, gender identity relies on internal identity rather than external reality and may involve attempts to change external reality to fit one’s internal identity.
What is gender dysphoria?
Gender Dysphoria, previously Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults from DSM-V
- A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or, in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics)
- a strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or, in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics)
- a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
- a strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
- a strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
- a strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
- The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
Gender dysphoria is both a symptom of and the new term for gender identity disorder. It results from the perceived “incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender.”
Sex dysphoria is commonly used in the community to distinguish issues revolving around the body rather than gender. Terms may include primary sex dysphoria, that is dysphoria relating to primary sex characteristics, and secondary sex dysphoria, that is dysphoria relating to secondary sex characteristics. In addition, sex dysphoria may relate to distress around what is physically present or misbelief around what is not.