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Frequently Asked Questions? FAQs

Is transsexualism rampant in this time/generation?

The short answer is NO. I doubt if there are any more gender dysphoric people today than there ever were. Especially if we assume that the cause of the disorder is congenital. The big difference now is that it can be successfully treated and more and more people world wide have access to the helpful information over the internet.

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Is there a particular age when someone realizes that he/she is a transsexual?

There are two important times in a transsexual's life. The first is when he or she realizes that he or she is gender dysphoric and admits to him or herself that he or she wishes they were the born the other sex. That can happen anytime in childhood but usually around the age of 6 or 7. The second is when the individual realizes that the dysphoria is not going to go away and that the anxiety over the issue has become problematic for them in their daily life. About then, the individual should be familiar with the phenomenon and know of it as transsexualism. The second situation can happen anywhere from their early teen years to mid adulthood.

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Are genetic or native males more prone to transsexualism than genetic females?

We don't have any specific data on whether gender dysphoria occurs more often in genetic male or genetic females. Western society allows females to express masculine behavior in dress to a degree that is not allowed for men relative to their need to express an innate sense of femininity. That difference may account for the fact that more males present not only more often but in greater distress than genetic females. However, I would venture a guess based on those gender dysphoric females I have worked with and how they reflect upon their lives and relationships that gender dysphoria occurs at about the same rate for both men and women.

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Do most people with Gender Identity Disorder have a deep-seated feeling of being inferior to the sex that they long to be? (i.e. not just being the wrong gender, but also feeling rejected by them?)

This is a far more complicated issue than I have time to address right now. However, I will say this. I don't think so. In fact I know for certain that most people who transition come to understand their situation better than the either/or comparisons you are suggesting. It doesn't take long for a post-op person to understand that although they now look and act very much like the gender they aspired to all their life, to realize that in fact that is as close to being absolutely male or female they will ever get. That does not, however, mean that they are inferior in any way. It is simply a different state of existence and has it's own virtues. People who transition are notorious for fitting back into society quite comfortably without notice. Rejection, unless one makes a special point of declaring one's transsexual status is rarely if ever an issue.

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I don't want to sound lengthy, but I have a few questions. I am sixteen, but I have already come to the conclusion after about three-four years of feeling that way. A few problems I have is that I keep second guessing myself and that my mother found out once and said that I was making it all up. Also I really don't act like a girl though I feel that I am one. I have heard of people creating masks for their male exterior in this type of situation and that may be it. Do many people have these questions and doubts and if I have them then does that mean that I am not a girl and that I have evaluated my person incorrectly? I am just distressed and want help. I have been driven to the point of almost suicide in regards to this question though i have been talked out of it repeatedly with such success that I realize that it is an ignorant thing to do. I do a lot of research on this and I have come to the conclusion that as soon as I get to college I am going to seriously consider transitioning (even though I will be broke and it is highly costly). I am at the point to which I will pay any price to become who I am, but I am terrified. Not of the changes themselves I even want to go as far as SRS seeing that looking at my penis is something that weighs down my soul, I even gone as far as to already pick out my name when it came to me and I realized that my name was Katrina (this was before hurricane Katrina so I am not basing it off of that), but of how others will react. I don't want to lose my family or friends and that terrifies me. I guess I am rambling on purely for the sake of trying to get someone to listen (though I have talked to my school psychologist many times), but not to be rude, but he is not as well versed in transsexuality as you are and it gets hard talking to him about it. I just want simple advice on what I should do and if you recommend getting over my fears and going through transition as soon as possible or if I should wait on the issue. Things get confusing and I would like advice.

With the exception of your age, your situation is very common among gender dysphoric males when they first come into see me. No matter how badly they need to be female, everyone is frightened of loosing family and friends if they were to transition. Resolving all of that is a major part of what working with a good gender therapist is all about. If you tell me what part of the country you live in, I will try to find a therapist to recommend to you. Perhaps you can get your family to take you to see him or her. In the meantime take care of yourself. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Nothing on this site should be viewed as providing therapeutic advice. No formation of a client/therapist
relationship with Dr. Vitale is intended or to be implied or inferred. The information provided in this site is for educational
purposes only. I attempt to keep the information current but make no representation or warranties in that regard. You should
not rely upon this information as a substitute for consul with a qualified mental health professional.