other causes for gender dysphoria
There are a multitude of known factors that can lead to a feeling of gender dysphoria, or cause someone to reject their own sex. These factors are complex, often occur together and are interrelated.
In most cases, the child is not consciously aware of the reasons for their gender dysphoria, and cannot explain it beyond, "it's just a feeling I have" or, "I just know."
In view of all the other known causes for gender dysphoria, the belief that there is nothing inherently wrong with identifying with the opposite sex, as the Gender Affirmative Model asserts, is frustratingly simplistic and naïve.
Some of the known causes are:
1. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
BPD is a particularly perplexing mental disorder that is difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat. Sometimes called "the chameleon" of mental illness, it often manifests as depression, anxiety and panic disorders, ADHD, substance abuse and mania.
According to the DSM-5, symptoms of BPD include:
- Markedly impoverished, poorly developed, or unstable self-image
- Thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior.
- Frequent feelings of being down, miserable, and/or hopeless
- Engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard to consequences
Of special note, suicidality is so common in BPD that it has become a defining feature. Suicidality among BPD is chronic and can continue over extended periods (months to years). This symptom distinguishes patients with BPD from those with classic mood disorders, who experience episodic suicidality only when acutely depressed.
It is hard to imagine a more ideal mental illness to be misdiagnosed as transgender. Their symptoms match perfectly.
"BPD...led me to pursue transition so as to identify myself with a greater cause/ideology--one which professed to ease my body dysphoria/dysmorphia with a 100% success rate."
"BPD makes self-identification difficult."
There is a well-documented overlap between transgendered and autistic populations. According to Kids on the Edge: The Gender Clinic, a documentary aired in November 2016, fully half of all referrals to the Tavistock Gender Clinic in London were diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.
Kathleen Levinson is a social worker who is on the autism spectrum and has a daughter who is also autistic. When her daughter was 16, she decided she was transgender. At age 18, after just two sessions with a "gender therapist", she was approved for a complete double-mastectomy, which was covered by insurance and performed by the therapist's surgeon friend. The daughter is so mentally disabled that she is not even capable of handling her own financial affairs, but this was of no concern to the "gender therapist". She also had such a limited understanding of transgenderism that she believed taking testosterone would "grow her a penis", a myth that was perpetuated at her PFLAG support group.
"I'd always felt like I had a male brain and I think it had heavily to do with my inability to relate to other females due to pretty secvere ADHD."
"My alienation from femaleness was related in part to how ADD features made me unable to meet the gendered expectations (behaviorally and aesthetically) others had for me."
"My autism made me see other females as a completely different species."
3. Difficulty accepting homosexual feelings
Someone who is gay, but cannot accept it, will find it easier to "pass" as the other sex so as to appear heterosexual. This is particularly popular among teenage girls. There are no more teenage lesbians. They're all "trans" now. In fact, PFLAG, a support group initially set up in the 1970's for parents and gay teens is now full-on trans. There are no plain old homosexual kids there any more.
There's even a recognized social pecking order among the LGBT community, with transgenders at the top and butch lesbians way down at the bottom.
A phenomenon that is only beginning to be recognized by researchers, entire groups of friends (usually girls) are "coming out" as trans. Gender "specialists" tell the parents that the only loving option is to support their children with hormone treatments and sex reassignment surgery. The result is that entire peer groups are starting hormones and having surgery—all with tons of love and support from their poor, naive parents.
Further Reading: Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics
5. Sexual Assault
The child feels it's safer to be the other gender. i.e. "This wouldn't have happened to me if I were a boy."
"I had no sense of self but I knew I didn't want to be a woman because bad things happen to women. I developed a very masculine self at a young age after being raped, and it was absolutely to dissociate myself from pain."
"I...feel that my experiences of sexual abuse massively impacted my ability to tolerate my presence within my body, and my relationship to the material consequences of operating this body."
"PTSD - raped by a girl at 19...Needed anything to show me a way out of my body. Anything to make it not the body that could be hurt by someone else."
6. Other Trauma
The child is trying to distance themselves from a severe trauma.
7. Bullying for being too effeminate or too butch
It's easy to see how this could happen. If you're constantly told you're "a sissy" or "a tomboy" and are severely bullied for it.
TWT was a nerdy, effeminate boy who was picked on by the other guys. He subconsciously decided it would be easier if he just WAS female, so he went to a clinic that was "progressive" for it's time and affirmed him in his wish to transition. He lived for 20 years as a woman, but never really felt right. It was only after years of GOOD psychotherapy that he realized that it was OK to be a guy and have feminine traits. Unfortunately, he is left with a permanently screwed up hormonal system.
8. Parent's wishes for a child of the other gender
It's hard to believe, but there are many documented cases.
Consider the sad story of Nancy Verhelst, who was legally euthanized in Belgium after a botched sex-change operation. Her patents hated and rejected her because she was a girl and they wanted another boy. So she tried to become a boy, and when it didn't work, she took her life.
In Williams vs Frymire (2012), the mother of a 5-year-old girl sent an email to the (divorced) father announcing that J. was transgender and would from then on be considered a boy, wear boy clothing, and be called "Bridge"; also that she would begin transitioning J. from girl to boy and she had discussed this with J's school. The mother was found by the courts to be forcing this on the child.
9. Feeling like a social outcast for any reason
In this case, taking on a transgender identity gives you instant popularity and social status. People will go out of their way to accept and befriend you "for who you are" to show how cool and open-minded they are.
"I believe that social anxiety and the desire to 'fit in' with the QSA (Queer-Straight Alliance) at my school--almost all non-binary or FTM women--led to my decision to identify as nonbinary."
10. Depression and Anxiety Disorders
"If only I were a boy, then I would be happy" also known as "The Grass is Always Greener" phenomenon. This is a frequent theme found in on-line discussion groups among teens.
"My dysphoria certainly fed my depression and vice versa, pushing me to identify as a trans man and look into transitioning."
"I felt that because I was depressed and wanted to escape my body, that transition would help solve all my problems."
"I feel like anxiety worsened by vitriolic 2013 Tumblr discourse kinda...made me, an impressionable kid, feel like I was a bad person if I wasn't trans"
11. Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders
This is the case when someone thinks their body is ugly or defective in some way. Anorexia is a form of body dysmorphia. So is gender dysphoria.
"...Body Dysmorphic Disorder was often misconstrued with Dysphoria, as I constantly felt my body was "wrong," and felt less so when not performing femininity."
"I confused my body dysmorphia, brought on by the pressure to be thin, small and beautiful and worsened by my anorexia, with dysphoria. I thought that the only way I could be happy being large and strong and obnoxious and taking up space was by being male."
12. Cultural Homophobia
In many muslim countries, homosexuals are forced to transition, which is considered to be more socially acceptable than homosexuality.
Other Possible Causes
There are many more possible reasons that would cause someone would reject their gender, including self-hatred, (medically-perpetrated) self-harm, Munchausen syndrome, Munchausen by proxy, mysogyny, male privilege (especially in muslim countries) and more. The list is very long.
Proponents of transgenderism are quick to argue that these are anomalies, and detransitioners are few and far between. However, this female detransition and reidentification survey and a larger, more formalized study due out imminently by Dr. Lisa Littman, adjunct professor at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, tell a far different story.