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Frequently Asked Questions? FAQs

What is the difference between someone who identifies as "transgender" and someone who identifies as "transsexual"?

The term "transgender" was coined by Dr. Virginia Prince in the mid 1970's to differentiate those individuals who wanted to live in the opposite gender role without surgery from those trans individuals who believed that they needed SRS to feel whole. Those individuals who wish or have had sex reassignment surgery were then and still are referred to as transsexuals. However, over the years the term "Transgender" has been modified through popular usage to be an umbrella term covering individuals who have some propensity to spend at least some time expressing themselves in the gender role opposite of that to which they have been assigned.

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Is the term "transsexual" politically correct, why or why not? And when did this change take place?

Although this may not be a universal response, I have noticed that the term "transsexual" is not only found acceptable it is the preferred term to be used in referring to individuals who use hormonal and surgical means to permanently alter their appearance to match their internal sense of gender. Most transsexuals are very binary in their thinking and feel that taking transition to its full hormonal and surgical extreme differentiates them from the more watered down term "transgender".

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Is Transgenderism a choice?

I am basing my answer to this question on my experience with over 600 gender variant patients who have come to see me over the last 31 years. All too often, on presentation, many of these people are scared, deeply depressed and at the limits of their ability to face life each day. It is not uncommon for these individuals to be having their marriages and careers falling apart....and being suicidal. All of this coming from lawyers, scientists, dentists, physicians, school teachers, professors, artists, musicians, and other highly educated and otherwise productive people. Being deprived of one's true gender expression can be fatal. If there is any choice involved here, it is between facing the reality of being gender variant and all that is involved in regaining a life, or denying it and suffer an interminably unresolved existence. Fortunately, help is available and the regimen practiced by most gender specialists has returned virtually all of these people back to productive and happy lives.

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Is Gender Dysphoria a form of mental illness?

Although gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM 5, most mental health practitioners do not consider crossdressing, being genderqueer, transsexualism or Trans in general to be a mental illness per se. However, due to the discrimination and prejudice these individuals face, many do suffer from mental health issues secondary to their GD. Some of the most common are clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety, depersonalization and substance abuse/dependence.

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Is Gender Dysphoria a form of mental illness?

Although gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM 5, most mental health practitioners do not consider crossdressing, being genderqueer, transsexualism or Trans in general to be a mental illness per se. However, due to the discrimination and prejudice these individuals face, many do suffer from mental health issues secondary to their GD. Some of the most common are clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety, depersonalization and substance abuse/dependence.

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DISCLAIMER: 

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.