What Is Gender Identity Disorder?

Differential Diagnosis

Gender Identity disorder can be distinguished from simple nonconformity to stereo-typical sex role behavior by the extent and pervasiveness of the cross-gender wishes, interests, and activities. This disorder is not meant to describe a child's nonconformity to stereotypic sex-role behavior as, for example, in "tomboyishness" in girls or "sissyish" behavior in boys. Rather, it represents a profound disturbance of the individual's sense of identity with regard to maleness or femaleness. Behavior in children that merely does not fit the cultural stereotype of masculinity or femininity should not be given the diagnosis unless the full syndrome is present, including marked distress or impairment. Transvestic Fetishism occurs in heterosexual (or bisexual) men for whom the cross-dressing behavior is for the purpose of sexual excitement. Aside from cross-dressing, most individuals with Transvestic Fetishism do not have a history of childhood cross-gender behaviors. Males with presentation that meets full criteria for Gender Identity Disorder as well as Transvestic Fetishism should be given both diagnoses. If gender dysphoria is present in an individual with Transvestic Fetishism but full criteria for Gender Identity Disorder are not met, the specifier With Gender Dysphoria can be used. The category Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise specified can be used for individuals who have a gender identity problem with concurrent congenital intersex condition (e.g., androgen insensitivity syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia). In Schizophrenia, there may rarely be delusions of belonging to the other sex. Insistence by a person with Gender Identity Disorder that he or she is of the other sex is not considered a delusion, because what is invariably meant is that the person feels like a member of the other sex rather than truly believes that he or she is a member of the other sex. In very rare cases, however, Schizophrenia and severe Gender Identity Disorder may coexist.

Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Identity Disorder

A. A strong persistent cross-gender identification (not merely a desire for any perceived cultural advantages of being the other sex). In children, the disturbance is manifested by four (or more) of the following: 1. Repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex.

2. In boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; In girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing.

3. Strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex.

4. Intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex.

5. Strong preference for playmates of the other sex. In adolescents and adults, the disturbance is manifested by symptoms such as a stated desire to be the other sex, frequent passing as the other sex, desire to live or be treated as the other sex, or the conviction that he or she has the typical feelings and reactions of the other sex.

B. Persistent discomfort with his or her sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex. In children, the disturbance is manifested by any of the following:

In boys, assertion that his penis or testes are disgusting or will disappear or assertion that it would be better not to have a penis, or aversion toward rough-and-tumble play and rejection of male stereotypical toys, games, and activities.

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