Gender Identity Disorder (GID)
As early as the age of four (Vitale, 1996), some children begin to realize that the gender their body tells them they are, and the gender their mind tells them they are don't correspond. The sense of gender and the anatomical sex of a person mature at different times and different regions of the body (Vitale, 1997b). Sometimes the gendermap, the template within the mind of a person that codes for masculinity, femininity and androgyny doesn't coincide with the body of the individual (Vitale, 1997a). This condition is commonly referred to as Gender Identity Disorder (GID). GID is characterized by unrelenting confusion or discomfort of one's own gender.
The terms "sex" and "gender" are often used interchangeably, and this generally causes confusion. The term "sex" will refer to one's genitalia, and "gender" will refer to the individual's gendermap of being masculine, feminine, or somewhere in the middle (Vitale, 1996).
Some traits for Gender Identity Disorder are strong desire to be the other gender, frequent living or being treated as the other gender, or the feeling that one has the reactions and emotions as the other gender would. Another characteristic is persistent discomfort with their birth gender. Some individuals believe that they were born the wrong sex (Hammond & Wilson, 1996). As one of my friends, "Wil" sadly admits, "I was born wrong."
Gender Identity Disorder begins to affect the individual in early childhood ("Gender Identity", 1999). If, by adolescence, a person isn't certain about their gender identity, most likely they never will be. A person's sense of gender in unchangeable over that individual's lifetime once it is established (Vitale, 1997a). Psychotherapy treatment may help a person be able to live with the sex they were born with. Sex reassignment is available for a few cases where therapy doesn't end a person's desire for sex
References: Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescence: Outcomes of Psychotherapy. (Summer 1999). v34 i134 p305. Libra Publishers, Inc. Hammond, Barbara E. Ph.D. , & Wilson, Katherine K. (1996) Association for Women in Psychology. [On-Line] Available: http://www.transgender.org/tg/gic/awptext.html. Pela, Robert L. (1997, Nov 11). Boys in the dollhouse and girls with toy trucks. n746 p55(5). Liberations Publications, Inc. Tennessee Vals Homepage. (2000, April 12) Transgender Social and Support Group. [On-Line]. Available: http://www.transgender.org/tvals/index.html. Vitale, Anne Ph.D. (1997a, April 2). Notes on Gender Transition: Gender Identity Disorder: A Brief Description of the Problem. [On-Line]. Available: http://www.avitale.com/Gender_Identity_Disorder_.html. Vitale, Anne Ph.D. (1997b, July 28). Notes on Gender Transition: Gender Dysphoria: Treatment Limits and Options. [On-Line]. Available: http://avitale.com/Treatment_Options.html. Vitale, Anne Ph.D. (1996, July 22). Notes on Gender Transition: Implications of Being Gender Dysphoric. [On-Line] Available: http://www.avitale.com/Implications.html.