An individual with gender dysphoria feels a disagreement between their sex and their gender. The existence of this disorder depends on viewing gender as binary; that you are either distinctly male or distinctly female. There is much controversy surrounding this as recent research has shown that gender and sexual preferences exist on a scale between the two poles and few people than might be expected land on the extreme ends as exclusively male or female and heterosexual or homosexual. Instead, proponents against the classification of gender dysphoria as a mental disorder claim that gender is a social construct, not a biological one.
The defining feature of the disorder is that the individual must experience distress extreme enough to affect the ability to function in daily life. In the absence of distress, no diagnosis is made. The subtypes of the disorder are characterized by sex and gender:
- Anatomical female identifying as male
- Anatomical male identifying as female
- Anatomical female or male identifying with no gender