Gender dysphoria and how we approach people with it

I have a friend whose son, a teenager, is becoming a girl. I don’t know the child - there was a divorce and the child lives with the mother - but the thing I remember about what my friend said was that his love for his child was in no way dependent on his child’s gender.


One of my nephews (early 20s) has just ‘come out’ (not sure what the term is) as well. As a family we are all fine with it of course, he is still him even though now feels like a her. Luckily he has good mates as well and it has all been OK for him. Must find out how he is going actually, all the stuff with my sister has taken over a bit!

1 Like

There is a beautiful book written about the experience of being trans - Conundrum by Jan Morris. I took it with me in my luggage when I moved to Brazil in 1974. It had just come out in hardback. She was writing about this at a time when it was hardly discussed.

Mind you, it was Lawrence Durrell who taught me about gender fluidity in the Alexandria Quartet - he showed me a world that was strangely exotic and in many ways it still feels like that to me - something I can barely comprehend. The TV series of Tales of the City again takes me to places way, way beyond my experience.


I have no problem with people living how they want to live provided this doesn’t impact everyone else around them. The biggest issue for me is that minorities often want to be seen as ‘special’ with the expectation that the majority should alter their lives to accommodate them.

I’ll use the singer Sam Smith as an example who is now ‘non-binary’ and refers to himself as ‘they, them and theirs’ as opposed to ‘he, him and his’. Just how does that work for the business he’s in, he’s no longer a ‘male’ and his work can no longer be entered into certain awards categories such as ‘best male artist or singer’ so should the music awards now have another category just for ‘non-binary’ artists or is it time to ditch all references to male or female genders?


Should there be such categories based on gender? - wouldn’t “best artist or singer” be better? Why is it necessary to compare male v male & female v female?


I believe it to be a mental illness


Yes sadly, I thought you would.


Really :astonished: wow :face_with_raised_eyebrow::frowning:

1 Like

Yes… I actually think the world would be a better place if it was non-binary or gender blind. Opposite us live two sisters, one of whom dresses as a man. No-one here thinks anything of it as far as I know - the only thing ever remarked on is the way they each pimp their cars. One is full of beanie toys, nodding plastic flowers and cushions. The other decorated with hunting scenes…

Personally a 50+ woman who dresses like a barbie doll and surrounds herself with toys is far more unsettling

i don’t believe gender dysphoria is a mental illness, but some people may develop mental health problems because of it, and because of the way they are treated…


Yes could be, certainly some but some invite attention and wish to be centre of attention.
Just to be honest, it has never effected me hiring anyone, I hire on ability only.

I’ve no problem with folk … in general.
although, I do feel the need to differentiate between human beings… and other lifeforms and the inanimate… just a little bit…

My suggestion…

One Object/Lifeform = it/its; Plural= they/them/their
One Person = he/him/his; Plural = they/them/their

(you get my drift…)

I can live with this… :+1: (and it would certainly help my French…)


I have no doubt gender dysphoria is a real condition. It used to be treated as a mental illness – until medicine had the techniques to treat it surgically.

Whether that is a good thing is another matter. The implicit recategorisation from mental to somatic seems to have come at a time when sociologists were creating concepts such as gender - as distinct from sex - and our understanding of genetics was developing. Obviously people with disorders such as gender dysphoria might be “helped” by the surgery doctors could now do (including creation of all the outward primary and secondary sexual characteristics).

1 Like

The statement I used to hear and see in print often was “given your sex at birth” as if the doctors decided it rather than your chromosomes.
If someone can explain that to me?

I have no comment on this other than to say gender neutral french would do wonders for my French too!


It’s exactly that! Chromosome tests aren’t done on new born babies so the doctors decide the sex based on the outward appearance of the genitalia. Sometimes (albeit rarely) this is wrong.

1 Like

I can’t begin to imagine the horror of being trapped in a body that doesn’t match your brain. People with such a medical condition need all the help and support that can be made available.

Even more horrifying is the number of children who were possibly just going through a phase of trying out different gender roles to see which suited undergoing irreversible gender reassignment at the will of misguided parents. The suicide rate for these poor souls is around 40%…


I mentioned above Jan Morris’s book Conundrum. She talks about knowing from (I think) something like the age of 3-4 that she was in the wrong body. The reason I remember was she talks about sitting underneath either a table or a piano and knowing she wasn’t “right”. I too at that age used to sit under the dining room table and knew exactly that I was “right”.
And she made a good fist of being in the wrong body for many years - serving as a soldier at the end of the war, becoming the Times correspondent who amongst other things went up Everest with Edmund Hillary, fathered a family with Elizabeth, his/her life-long partner.

The graciousness with which he/she has embraced and explained his/her two lives means that I think it is anything but


I can attest to that. I had a friend who I got to know from work about 25 years ago. Then, she was a he called Lee. He was the sort of friend that you could go out for a good drink with, but he was always quite distant and could be very morose after a few drinks. He also liked the drink way too much. He was obviously not a happy person but you couldn’t put your finger on exactly why. One day, 18 years ago in a pub, having a few drinks, he suddenly blurted out to a group of us that he was terribly unhappy and had been for a long time . He said that he’d always felt that he should be a woman and not a man. It was a bit jaw dropping at the time as it came completely out of the blue. Within a few weeks, he started coming to work dressed as a woman and never looked back for a second. Lee became Sarah and was mostly accepted by all those around her. She was much more open and much happier and talked quite a lot about the depression and suicidal thoughts caused by her gender dysphoria. Sarah went the whole hog transitioning to a woman and is now very happy.


That is a lovely story! My nephew says he doesn’t want to do the full transition but i think it is just making him happier that he can dress / makeup etc. Apparently he is still with his very understanding girlfriend too!


I think Grayson Perry and Eddie Izzard have been great role models here - David Bowie and the like too for previous generations.

I wonder if much can be done by understanding parents and teachers to alleviate mental suffering at an early age if children are allowed to explore more. Hopefully future generations won’t make so many imprisoning gender assumptions

1 Like