Gender dysphoria - Diagnosis 

Diagnosing gender dysphoria 

See your GP if you think that you or your child may have gender dysphoria. They can refer you or your child to a Gender Dysphoria (GD) clinic.

GD clinics offer expert support and help, as well assessment and diagnosis, for people with gender dysphoria.

There are strict criteria for diagnosing gender dysphoria, these are different for children and adults. However, the criteria are based on the assumption that gender dysphoria is a purely psychiatric condition (relating to the mind), which is now increasingly thought to be a misconception.

For this reason, and due to the fact that gender dysphoria is so complex, specialists tend to make a diagnosis based on each individual, rather than just on the criteria.

Each case of gender dysphoria is unique and should be treated as such. The traditional criteria for diagnosing gender dysphoria in children and adults are described below.

Criteria for children

To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a child should:

  • repeatedly insist that they want to be the opposite sex, or that they are the opposite sex, and behave as the opposite sex (this must not be just because they want any supposed advantages of being the opposite sex)
  • dislike or refuse to wear clothes typically worn by their sex and insist on wearing clothes typically worn by the opposite sex, or show dislike or unhappiness with their genitalia and insist that it will change into that of the opposite sex (for example, refusing to pass urine as members of their sex usually do)
  • not yet have reached puberty (when a child progresses into a sexually developed adult)
  • behave this way for at least six months 

Criteria for teenagers and adults

To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a teenager or adult should:

  • feel persistently and strongly that they are the wrong sex and feel a strong identification with the opposite sex
  • feel discomfort in their sex and its gender role and strongly dislike and wish to be rid of the physical characteristics of their sex, such as breasts, facial and body hair and genitalia
  • not have a condition that causes them to display physical attributes of the opposite sex (although this is being increasingly questioned)
  • experience long-term anxiety, distress and impairment in social and occupational areas of life due to their condition


As well as these criteria, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria will depend on a full and highly personalised assessment of your, or your child's, gender identity and preferred gender role.

Your GD specialist will assess your gender development in childhood and puberty, or your child's gender development in earlier childhood. They will also carry out psychological assessments on you or your child, to assess the level of your or their cross-gender identification.

You or your child will also be offered counselling and details of support groups to help you cope with the condition.

Page last reviewed: 21/05/2012

Next review due: 21/05/2014


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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

gina at choices said on 17 April 2014

look il tell you I got thrown out now have a new gp and hospital it now says gina androgen binding fault sex chromosome fault frame /muscle fault. it now says she and her. it also says gender dysphoria physically real. I had agree to reassign it on the phone. I did consent.. its just doing i. so theres notthing shady
it was/is my wish. i did tell them that. it is known to be damaged and a default. genome tests have been done
it is showing anomalies. I am number two there was another baby only a boy not as bad and not like me.
only partly affected that was at hammersmith hospital.
im a quite happy girl on hrt. now I get the transsexual hassle and the religion has started carping on.
its a disaster area but ....luckily.........being geeny weeny helped.. the cmht were brilliant to me this time.
my name was also changed. on the phone full reassignment was ok,. im sorry for other posts but
ive showed you it all for real. thanx again.
gina xxxx

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gina at choices said on 19 June 2013

sorry to leave a few posts but ill tell you what happened honestly. i sceamed bawled at male clothes and just said ok so im a girl, ok i had a genetic fault, it does that the same. i said girls make me feel sick leave me alone please in tears at times. i couldnt stand the sex advances, they made altho i do play around with them at times. i actually wanted a boyfriend like a girl and just go back to normal as one. if i didnt love i didnt want to know
i just didnt feel anything for her.. id actually said "same unit" and she was "barbie unit". so identity with females is like that in me anyway, shes the same. so they ust went yea it will do, when i told them about some things
but just said it wasnt psychitric it was physical.
i just accepted that.

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