Dear Dr. Geek:
Recently I heard you on a podcast answering questions about gender identity, can you help me understand a little bit more about what you were talking about? I am thinking and feeling as if I may be misgendered and wanted some clarification. In case I continue to feel this way, what do you suggest I do?
This is a difficult topic for just about anyone to talk about. Furthermore, it is a hot button topic in the media and political realms as well. As for us psychologists, we have something called Gender Dysphoria in our DSM-5. The main criteria for this is
"a marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months' duration, as manifested by at least six of the following characteristics:"
In Adolescents and Adults:
1. A marked incongruence between ones's experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics.
2. A strong desire to be rid of one's primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one's experiences/expressed gender.
3. A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender.
4. A strong desire to be of the other gender.
5. A strong desire to be treated as the other gender.
6. A strong conviction that one has he typical feelings and reactions of the other gender.
And two more for children:
7. A strong dislike of one's sexual anatomy.
8. A rejection of the assigned/expressed toys and games.
As I said before, it is a tough one to talk about. If you think you meet any of these criteria, or even if you may think that some of it applies while other parts do not, I would encourage you to find a therapist, not a counselor, a therapist to discuss these concerns with. They will help you identify what may be going on and what the next step may be. Psychology Today is a wonderful site and is an easy way for you to find someone in your area.
Please note that you are not alone in this questioning or endeavor. A lot of video gamers and geeks have these questions and flock to geek culture because it is a safe haven for these feelings and heavily charged emotions. Chances are you have met someone that is going through something very similar to you. It is more common than many people realize as the geek community allows us to experience the other gender fairly easily and what it may hold for us.
If you choose to go through with any sort of gender change, it is important to realize that this is not a quick switch or something that you may want to do and then reconsider later on. It is a change that will upheave parts of your life and change quite a bit. Most likely you will have to attend therapy for a period of time to make sure it is the right decision and also then undergo psychological testing to make sure everything is sound of mind. These are normal procedures that we, as psychologists, undertake with our patients to make sure everything is going OK. I hope this led to some clarification for you.
- Dr. Geek.
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Dr. Anthony Bean is a Licensed Psychologist in Fort Worth, Texas specializing in video games, therapy, geekiness, and virtual worlds. He is considered an expert in this growing field and has been published extensively in the discipline. At Bean Psychological Services, he works with children, adolescents, and adults who play video games and their families to better understand the immersive effects video games have upon the individual and resulting family dynamics. He is active and available on Twitter as @videogamedoc.
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Dr. Anthony Bean is a Licensed Psychologist in Fort Worth, Texas specializing in video games, therapy, geekiness, and virtual worlds.