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Regional Gender Identity Service

What is Gender Identity?

‘Gender identity’ is the inherent sense of being a man or woman or indeed blend of man and woman or another self identified gender. For the individual this may or may not agree with the gender which is given by others at birth, due largely to outside, body characteristics. This mismatch is called gender incongruence.

Social gender roles are those expressed behaviours, interests, forms of appearance, and personality that are expected of a person in a given culture based mainly on their physical appearance. This may or may not conform to their sense of gender identity.

What is Gender Dysphoria?

Gender Dysphoria is the term used to describe the expectable long lasting discomfort and distress experienced by people when there is a mismatch between their gender identity, their sex given at birth, expected social gender roles and /or their physical sexual characteristics.

For example some people have a typically male body but their inside experience of gender is that they are a woman. Others have a typically female body but their inside experience of gender is that they are a man. In other cases people may not feel that they are definitely male or female or that any gender is relevant to them.

What does being Transgender mean?

The term transgender / trans* has had different meanings over time. It is an umbrella term for anyone who crosses traditional gender boundaries permanently or periodically.

What Brackenburn Clinic has to offer

Everyone’s experience is different; our approach is to listen to your story and help you to find a life where serious worries about gender, social role and physical sex characteristics are no longer causing you undue distress.

Our aim is to help you think about the physical, psychological and emotional issues about your gender which may also involve referring you to other services to help with this such as hormone specialists and surgeons. Along with this we aim to help you to develop new skills and resilience in dealing with life’s day-to-day challenges. We can also offer information, support and advice to your family, where this would be helpful to you, about the clinic and our experiences to date.

We hope to support people in making their own decisions and changes about the best way forward for them. There is no one way to approach the issue of gender dysphoria. For many this will involve a full social and physical transition. For others they can resolve their difficulties by making use of elements of this process. For example, some may decide that what is needed for them to manage their gender dysphoria is for them to enter into a social role that is consistent with their gender identity.

Transition marks the change in social status from man to woman or woman to man or a more individually based non-binary position, in order to help manage the mismatch and reduce gender dysphoria.

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