It’s time to talk about how gender dysphoria can affect men’s health.  You might be wondering what the connection is and why it’s so important.

Why don’t men take their health as seriously as women?

As an admirer of men, it really concerns me why so many men don’t take their health as seriously as women.

To all you men out there your health is important to everyone.  You will fall into at least one of the following categories:

  • A son.
  • A husband or partner.
  • A brother.
  • An uncle/ cousin/ nephew.
  • A friend.
  • A pet owner.
  • A work colleague/ neighbor.

This is a long list of roles showing what an important person you are in other people’s lives.  This can easily be forgotten when struggling with anxiety and stress. Doesn’t it make sense to look after your physical and mental health so that you can continue to be an active part in all their lives?

Some Statistics

There’s a lot of reasons why someone might not look after their health as carefully as perhaps they should. Anxiety and stress playing a huge factor in this.  Statistics from show that men are 3.7 times more likely to commit suicide than women because they are afraid to speak out about their concerns.  A frightening figure stating that 70{27785d5a1cb9b9d76ed88cd07add49cac88b39518f31986128adbbf03c278e57} of men who committed suicide had never visited a mental health professional.  This shows how important good communication is in maintaining not only good physical and mental health but also good relationships.

My Dads story.

At the age of 50, my Dad finally admit to my family that he was struggling with gender dysphoria.  He knew he was different when he was 5 years old but didn’t start to, secretly, take hormonal treatment until he was about 40.  The day I found out he said, “Cath, I can’t go on like this any longer.  If I don’t start making changes, I will do something more serious to my body.”  Was this mutilation or suicide; he did not elaborate. Thankfully my Dad was able to continue to live an authentic life as a Joan.

What is gender dysphoria?

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It’s sometimes known as gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism.

Gender dysphoria is becoming more openly talked about but at the same time is still very much underground.  Not an easy situation to come to terms with let alone address to your nearest and dearest.  According to Stonewall there are no accurate figures, but about 1 of the population is transgender, which is between 200,000 and 500,000 in the UK.  “Evidence suggests that the prevalence has increased over the last decades to up to 5–14 male-to-female transgender individuals per 1000 adult males and 2–3 female-to-male transgender individuals per 1000 adult females.

If men don’t start taking their health and wellbeing more seriously there is soon going to become an epidemic.  As it stands, the suicide rate for transexuals is 3 – 4 times great than in the rest of the population and will only increase.  This can be due to various reasons:

  • Vulnerability
  • Victimisation
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Medical needs not being met
  • Inadequate support in their closest social network

As a transsexual how can you support your family?

My Dad was the master of deception, so coming out as transgender was a massive shock to the whole family.  Even to his own mother and wife. My Mum only needed to know when he started hormonal treatment because of the effects on his sexual drive and potentially long-term implications on the intimacy side of their relationship.

If my Dad had tapped into his self-honest earlier, started talking about how gender dysphoria was effecting him would it have made much of a difference?  I think so.

Communication is the key.
  • Perhaps he would have been more emotionally balanced with less thoughts of self-harm.
  • He would have been living his authentic self for longer.
  • It wouldn’t have been such a shock to us as a family.
  • We would have had longer to come to terms with this change.
  • There may have been less strain, anxiety and stress in all of our lives.
  • We would have enjoyed many more years of relaxed family time together than we did.

If you think you’re experiencing gender dysphoria, please start talking about it. Keeping these thoughts and concerns to yourself is going to make a massive impact on your mental and physical health.  Your health and wellbeing is as important as anyone else’s. The rest of us may not be recognising the subtle signals you are giving out. Or you may be a master of deception like my Dad.  I know this is stating the obvious but if you decide to change gender you are still important to a vast amount of people.

The starting point is being honest with yourself.

Self-honest is the key to having authentic conversations with yourself. Allowing your unheard self be heard will lead onto more authentic conversations with your nearest and dearest and the chance to live a happier and healthier life.

Remember you’re not alone.

Reaching out is the hardest but most important first step to living your authentic self.

Talking with someone who understands is a good stating point.  Book a chat with me to find out how I can support you to becoming your authentic self.

About the Author

Cath Lloyd

British TEDx Speaker, life coach and author of “When Dad Became Joan” with her second booking coming out at the end of 2023, Cath Lloyd was a shy and unconfident student at school. Learning from her life experiences has developed her confidence, enabling her to share her voice, ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Cath has spoken on local radio, Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour as well as many podcast shows. Cath is promoting the importance of self-honesty to learn and understand yourself. The other is, communication is one of the keys to keeping your emotional, mental, and physical balance and keeping family life running more smoothly.

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