The prevalence of transgender children and concerns that it causes in society led to the development of the diagnosis and assessment system.
According to the DSM-IV, gender identity disorder is diagnosed when there are four or more of the following symptoms:
- repeated affirmation (persisting) about the child own affiliation to the opposite sex;
- boys prefer to dress in women’s clothes or simulate the female style of dress; girls: insists on wearing only a stereotypically men’s wear;
- in role play and fantasies: strong and sustainable preference of the opposite sex role;
- a strong desire to participate in games and activities typical of the opposite sex;
- noticeable preference to play with the children of the opposite sex.
The DSM-IV also states that to the age 18-20 about three-quarters of boys having in childhood gender identity disorder report being homosexual or bisexual, but without gender identity disorder. Most of the remaining respondents report their heterosexuality without gender identity disorders. Some teens and young adults identify themselves with opposite gender and seek sex reassignment surgery, while others continue to live in the state of gender confusion and dysphoria.
Among , psychologists and psychotherapists there is no consensus on definition of cross-gender behaviour in children. The International Association for the study of gender dysphoria, however, has published a guide, according to which this diagnosis made in childhood persist into adolescence and later only in about 1% of cases.
3-4% of total population of children demonstrate significant cross-gender behavior. Very few of those who are diagnosed gender identity disorder in childhood grow up to become transgendered. Quite often such children grow up to become gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Studies show that a large percentage (80-70%) of gays showed during their childhood a cross-gender behavior on a scale sufficient for the diagnosis of gender identity disorder.
Work aiming at protection and support of transgender children and young people, leads to reduced levels of anxiety and stress, which first arose as a reaction to unusual forms of gender expression. Improving communication and interaction, all the parties involved in the situation came to better understanding of their own gender and resulted in increased awareness of gender problems occurring.
The international gender scene still holds the old idea of transgenderism, coupled with the belief that hormone therapy, and surgery may be needed to resolve the issue. However, in addition to these, there are new ideas about gender and new forms of its expression. In particular, fewer people decided to radically change their sex, while other, less dichotomous, forms of preferred gender expression are becoming more common. More and more people are realizing that the gender identification may last for years, decades, and sometimes for life.
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