Gender Identity is about how a person identifies with themselves in terms of their gender. A lot of young people will grow up identifying as a boy or girl, or male or female as their biological sex and gender identity matches. However, for some people they may feel like they don’t fit into the male or female category, or may feel that their biological sex doesn’t match their gender identity. This may mean that a young person who was born as a biological female may feel that their gender identity doesn’t match that of a female, and they feel they identify more with the male gender, regardless of biological factors and vice versa. Some young people may be questioning their gender, or struggling to understand their gender. Others may not identify with a gender or even change between genders!
All of the above is to do with gender identity. When a person experiences discomfort or distress because they feel that their biological sex and gender identity doesn’t match up, this is often referred to as ‘Gender Dysphoria’. You may also see it being referred to as Gender Identity Disorder (GID) or transgenderism.
Common things you may feel with Gender Dysphoria
The first signs of gender dysphoria can appear at a very young age. This can be things such as a child refusing to wear ‘typical’ boys’ or girls’ clothes, or state they don’t want to take part typical boys’ or girls’ games or activities. For a lot of children this will likely be normal behaviour and may pass with time, but for those with gender dysphoria it continues through childhood and into adulthood. Young people with gender dysphoria can feel trapped inside a body that doesn’t match their gender identity and can feel so unhappy about judgement from society that they live their life in their biological body, and not express as they gender they assign to.
Where to go for support
We know that young people with gender dysphoria may need supporting, in a safe environment where they can talk to others and feel a sense of belonging. In Liverpool, Young Person’s Advisory Service (YPAS) have The Action Youth group, which is open to anyone aged 10 – 18 whose gender identity is different to how others see it, or who may be questioning their gender identity.
When: Mondays 4.30 – 7pm for ages 12 – 18. 1 to 1 support is available throughout the week for 10 – 18 year olds.
More info can be found here: http://www.ypas.org.uk/our-services/support-services/trans-project/