Gender Dysphoria and Anorexia in Adolescent Females | SEGM

A new publication* in Sexuologie (the journal of the German Society for Sexual Medicine, Sexual Therapy and Sexual Science/DGSMTW) takes on the issue of the sharp rise in transgender identification in adolescent females, which remains poorly understood. The authors, Korte and Gille, present an intriguing hypothesis for this novel phenomenon, comparing and contrasting gender dysphoria to anorexia nervosa, and finding a number of important similarities.

The authors conclude that clinicians working with gender-dysphoric adolescents must familiarize themselves with the complex dynamics of female adolescent development, and that trans-affirmative medical interventions should not be considered until adolescent development is complete. With the Journal’s permission, SEGM is posting the full English-language translation below, preceded by a brief synopsis and the SEGM take-away.

Synopsis “The development of a stable female identity in adolescence is highly complex, demanding, susceptible to disruption and accompanied by crises,” observe Korte and Gille. Female puberty presents serious challenges that every girl must find a way to navigate. Temporary crises during this stage are common as girls attempt to navigate their changing bodies and the ways families, peers, and society at large respond to these changes. The authors observe that successfully traversing this crucial phase of psychosocial and identity development requires “a high degree of willingness to change, flexibility and advanced emotional and self-regulation skills.”   When an adolescent girl fails to negotiate these challenges successfully, serious disorders, including anorexia and gender dysphoria, may arise, with psychological conflicts projecting onto the body. Either disorder may serve as an “exit strategy” employed when a girl cannot find a way to accept her developing female body.

Source: Gender Dysphoria and Anorexia in Adolescent Females | SEGM

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