Gender Confusion

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am currently in a situation that I believe needs serious attention to. I am a 18 year old male who first had thoughts questioning my gender when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I remember when I was playing with my friend she use to let me wear some of her clothing, and the first time she let me, I remember that moment as feeling comfortable in clothes that seem to ‘suit’ me. And so after that I would dress up as a girl every time I got to spend time with her. (Which was almost everyday). But just as this feeling of happiness seemed to have settled, I had to move due to my families economic troubles. After moving, I never really had a home to call home because every 1-2 years we had to move, which in turn, made me an introvert. (which is still continuing). At this point I gave up on reality and myself, but for some odd reason I am still fascinated by reality. Reality, to me, in the philosophical sense, gives me the ability to cope with this ‘depression’ of my gender, that, as well as dreams. But me trying to cope with these feelings quickly wore off…And as my teenage years approached I began having lucid dreams of being a girl. (Being still in my teenage years, I always thought that this was a condition reserved to the adolescent simply because of the questions of myself to reality, visa versa). In these dreams I would be in a 1st person view looking down at myself and interacting with the created projections in my dreams. Until one day I had one of the most realistic lucid dreams I could ever have. I was looking at myself in a mirror for the first time and had an over whelming sense of peace come to me, unfortunately I had to wake up for school. Now each and every time I awake from these dreams I would cry just to feel happiness that was brought to me in these dreams. (Lasted from 12 to present time). Since then it’s been hard to live in my body without feeling annoyed and depressed with my male attributes. It’s become an increasing difficulty for me to sleep and have an appetite for food…I have brought this to my parents attention (no friends on the account that I try and no one seems to want to know me, visa versa). Unfortunately, my parents always seem to “forget” my want for a therapist and/or psychotherapist even after the countless times of reminding them. (I believe it’s because of our finances). I understand that this is a difficult matter to both me and my family. Also, recently I have been forgetting things I would normally be able to remember, it has gotten to the point where it’s hard for me to remember if yesterday as even existed…I would be extremely thankful if you could provide advice on how I should continue.

A. Don’t stop reminding your parents that you want to see a therapist. Have a serious conversation about the fact that you need help. If finances are an issue, then suggest that they take you to a community mental health center (CMHC). CMHCs provide cheaper mental health services. They often charge a sliding scale fee. A sliding scale fee is based on an individual’s or family’s’ income. This essentially means paying what you can afford.

It seems as though you might have depression and it may be getting worse. As you indicated, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for you to sleep. There is a decrease in your appetite. You noticed a change in your mood. You’re also experiencing short-term memory loss. These are all symptoms associated with depression. The depression is likely related to gender confusion.

There are others who also feel they were born the wrong gender. Like you, their longing to be the opposite gender began as a child. Some experience this urge so strongly that as adults they undergo major surgery to change their assigned sex. Transgender is the generic term used to describe individuals who do not feel comfortable with their assigned sex. Transsexual is the general term used to describe individuals who have undergone gender reassignment surgery.

I would recommend reading educational material about transgender issues. The public library is a good place to start. You can also search the Internet for “transgender resources. ” The Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) website has information that you might find helpful.

I wish you the best. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 May 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Gender Confusion. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/05/03/gender-confusion/