Gender Identity Disorder Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3105 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

GID

Gender Identity disorder has received a great deal of attention in recent years. The purpose of this discussion is to emphasize current treatment strategies for clients affected by Gender Identity Disorder. The discussion will include a review of the literature and recommendations for practitioners. Let us begin our discussion by defining Gender Identity Disorder.

Definition of Gender Identity Disorder

According to the National Institutes of Health Gender Identity disorder is a condition in which there is a cionflict between an individuals physical or obvious gender and the individual's self-identification. For examply an individual that is a female may feel and display the characteristics of a male. The NIH points out that Gender Identity disorder is wholly different from homosexuality because homosexuals almost always identfy with their actual gender (Gender Identity Disorder).

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The NIH also explains that these gender Identity issues can manifest themselves in a myriad of ways. For instance, some people with this disorder that have normal genitals but secondary sex characteristics of one gender, may sometimes identify more with the other gender (Gender Identity Disorder). In addition, some individuals may cross-dress, and in some cases people with this some may request and receive reassignment surgery (Gender Identity Disorder). Still others with GID are born with ambiguous genitals, which can cause identity issues (Gender Identity Disorder). The NIH also explains that People with gender identity disorder may act and present themselves as members of the opposite sex. The disorder may affect self-concept, choice of sexual partners, and the display of femininity or masculinity through mannerisms, behavior, and dress. The feeling of being in the body of the "wrong" gender must persist for at least 2 years for this diagnosis to be made. The cause is unknown, but hormonal influences in the womb, genetics, and environmental factors (such as parenting) are suspected to be involved. The disorder may occur in children or adults, and is rare (Gender Identity Disorder)."

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The Natioanl Institutes of Health explains that the symptoms of GID in children include a disdain for their own genetalia, a desire to be the opposite sex, depression, rejection, isolation and anxiety. The symptoms of adult with GID include wanting to destory their genitals, dressing as the opposite sex, the desire to live their life as the opposite sex, rejection, depression and anxiety (Gender Identity Disorder). Now that we have garnered a greater understanding of GID, let us focus on the impact of GID on both children and adults and the treatments that are available for both children and adults.

Children with GID

According to Menvielle & Tuerk (2002) a GID diagnosis in children uassually involves a child that sufferes from severe gender dysphoria. The authors explain that there is still no consensus on whether childhood gender dysphoria leads to a diagnosis of GID in adulthood, or whether this dysphoria seen in childhood is just an indication of homsexuality or bisexuality at a later stage of life (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002).

The authors assert that children with GID or gender noncomformity are often stigmatized and isolated. Such stigma can come from parents and society when a child's behavior or characteristics are not congruent with their apparent sex (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002). The authors pouint out that boys in particualr are ridiculed when they are viewed as feminine. Such stigma often increases throughout middle school and high school (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002). In fact many children that are homosexual, bisexual or transgender have a very difficult time in school This diffficulty is due to rejection from peers which creates feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002).

Treatments for Children With GID

In an effort to assist homosexual, transgender, transsexual and bisexual adolescents many programs have been developed in recent years. Many of these programs are available at school and in the community (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002). The author point out that these programs serve an important role in assisting adolescents in overcoming the stigma present in societies and in some cases their own families (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002).

Although many programs are now available to adolescents, there are very few programs available to younger children with GID. In fact, there is a lack of consensus on just how to treat children with this particular disorder (Bartlett, Bukowski, & Vasey, 2000; Menvielle, 1998; Zucker, 1999).

The authors point out that the lack of programs available to this population makes both the children and the parents feel even more isolated (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002). In addition, parents with non-conforming children often report feeling of anger, anxiety and fear about the future of the child (Menvielle & Tuerk 2002).

Because treatment for children with GID is so minimal many practitioners have begun to develop treatments for children. For instance Rosenberg (2002) utilizes both individual and group treatment. This treatment is inclusive of acceptance, support, education and self-esteem enhancement. The author explains that the treatments also utilize language that is age appropriate. In addition the children are made aware of the fact that there are other children like them that are able to lead normal lies. The author explains that the children express great interest in the fact that there are others like themselves, asking many curious questions. The intervention probably reduces anxiety and shame associated with isolation. With younger children, I allow and support cross gender play in my office and respond in a manner that is intended to enhance self-esteem (Rosenberg 2002, 620)."

The author also asserts that individual and group treatment is also needed for parents. One of the purposes of treating parents is to give them the tools that are needed to cope with having a child that has GID and the stigma it entails (Rosenberg 2002). The author explains that many children with GID experience teasing, taunting and humiliation not only form pears but also from teachers and other adults (Rosenberg 2002).

The treatment for parents informs them of some of the social and personal issues that a child with GID may encounter. It is also necessary during this treatment for parents to inform them that most children that have GID identify as homosexuals when they are adults (Rosenberg 2002). This being the case, parents are often encouraged to discuss their views on homosexuality and a practitioner may attempt to connect the parents with other organizations that can offer them assistance (Rosenberg 2002).

Another aspect of treatment for parents with GID children is to assist parents in overcoming the disappointment they feel when their child does not display the normal characteristics of their gender. For fathers, this means overcoming the disappointment of not having a masculine son and for mother it means overcoming the disappointment of not having a daughter that is feminine (Rosenberg 2002). The author asserts that such disappointment is usually more apparent as it relates to fathers and sons (Rosenberg 2002). This aspect of the treatment also involves assisting parents as it relates to how to deal with teachers, family, neighbors and anyone that the child has a great deal of contact with (Rosenberg 2002). The purpose of this is to create an environment for the child that is non-threatening (Rosenberg 2002). The author explains that it is unhealthy to attempt to hide the problem from others as many parents often do (Rosenberg 2002).

Rosenberg (2002) asserts that children that undergo this type of treatment for GID experience a decrease in anxiety and increased levels of self-esteem. In one case a boy that was cross dressing started to dress in masculine attire and identify himself as homosexual (Rosenberg 2002). In addition, this treatment resulted in some of the children gaining more acceptance of their biological gender (Rosenberg 2002).

Adults with GID

Just as children with GID often feel isolated, so do the adults that have this disorder. In addition, many of the symptoms such as anxiety and depression that are seen in children are also seen in adults.

Treatments for Adults with GID

The treatment of adults with gender identity disorder is also problematic because there is not a general consensus on how it should be treated. In fact, many practitioners argue the GID is actually a form of homophobia; some practitioners have asserted that those that have GID are simply afraid to identify themselves as gay or lesbian because of the stigma that is attached to homosexuality (Carroll & Gilroy, 2002; Fagan Schmidt & Wise, 1994).

Adults with GID can also be involved in individual and group counseling to assist them in dealing with the disorder. However adults also have an option that children do not and this option is known as reassignment surgery (Griggs, 1998). Reassignment Surgery -- formerly referred to as a sex change operation -- allows an individual to be surgically altered to reflect the gender that they identify with (Lief & Hubschman, 1993). This surgery has now been available for quite some time and presents many people with GID with the possibiltiy of living a life that is more "normal."

According to Cuypere et al. (2005) hormonal therapy and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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