Gender identity disorder (GID) or transsexualism can be defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex.
People with GID strive to live as members of the opposite sex and often dress and use mannerisms associated with the other gender. For instance, a person identified as a boy might feel and act like a girl. This is distinct from homosexuality in that homosexuals nearly always identify with their apparent sex or gender. Identity issues manifest in numerous ways. Some people with normal genitals and secondary sex characteristics of one gender privately identify more with the other gender. Some may cross-dress, and sometimes seek sex-change surgery.
The feelings of being trapped or living in the “wrong” body must persist for at least two years for this diagnosis to be made. The cause is unknown, although hormonal influences in the womb, genetics and environmental factors (such as parenting) are noted to be of influence. The disorder may occur in children or adults. There are two courses for the development of gender identity disorder:
Individual and family counseling is highly suggested for children, an individual or couples therapy is suggested for adults. Sex reassignment through surgery and hormonal therapy can be an option, but severe medical and physical problems can persist after this form of treatment. A better outcome is associated with the early diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.