Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress about one’s physical body in people who are gender diverse. It occurs when a person feels that their physical features (e.g. chest) do not align with a typical body for someone of the gender they feel internally or they experience certain events (e.g. wearing gendered clothing that doesn’t fit with their sense of their gender identity).
Some gender diverse children experience dysphoria early on, and some are not affected by it much at all. For many, dysphoria doesn’t become significantly distressing until the start of puberty, when the body begins to develop secondary sex characteristics like breasts, facial hair or changing voice, which can highlight and intensify the discrepancy felt between the child’s body and their identity.
If your child is struggling here are some helpful resources on coping with dysphoria:
Coping with gender dysphoria | Telethon Kids Institute
Gender dysphoria | Royal Children’s Hospital. Melbourne
Gender identity, gender diversity and gender dysphoria: children and teenagers | Raising Children Network
Coping with Gender Dysphoria: A quick workbook | SHINE South Australia