I'm saying that gender dysphoria IS a mental disorder, per DSM-5 - the guidebook for mental health professionals. It literally is a mental illness.
They aren't feeling distress due to the process of transitioning, Temujin. They're feeling distress because of the mental disorder they have. It's the mental disorder, not the transitioning, that's causing them distress. Transitioning is an attempt to TREAT the mental disorder.
There are some people who see themselves as the opposite gender, and don't have distress or anxiety over it, nor have trouble functioning. That's not considered a mental illness. (I'll get back to this in a moment) But when those feelings bring about distress or anxiety, etc., then it is considered gender dysphoria, and that IS a mental illness.
I mean, it's like a guy who is paranoid. If he thinks people are "out to get him" but it doesn't cause him any real problems, and it doesn't negatively affect his behavior in any way, we say, oh that guy's weird, and off his rocker, but he's harmless and it's no big deal. And not needing treatment. But when that paranoia causes him stress and anxiety and he begins acting in strange ways, yeah, NOW that's considered a mental illness.
Same thing with body dysmorphia. If you think your nose is misshapen, but it doesn't really bother you, and that feeling you have doesn't inhibit your ability to function, they don't call THAT a mental illness. It's when you have that feeling and now you feel uncomfortable with your body, you begin obsessing over it, you stress over it, etc., that it becomes a mental illness.
If you're a boy and think you're a girl, and it doesn't cause you distress or anxiety and doesn't result in weird, negative behavior, it's considered abnormal (not "wrong" per se, but not normal), but it's harmless. So it's not diagnosed as a mental illness. But when that feeling you have comes with anxiety and depression and distress and it starts affecting you in negative ways, that's gender dysphoria, and that IS a mental illness.
We need to stop putting 100% of the blame here on how these people are treated by society. As I said in a previous post, OBVIOUSLY bullying of any kind contributes to ANYONE's bad mental health, and can lead to depression and suicide. That's true whether a person is being bullied for being trans, for being gay, for being fat, for being a conservative, for being ugly, for being too tall, for....insert any other reason people get bullied here. We know that mistreatment increases ANYONE's chances for suicide, trans people included.
But here are two testimonials from trans people:
"When I look in the mirror in the morning, before having shaved, it’s certainly a painful experience. But perhaps not in exactly the way you might imagine.
The immediate reaction I get from my reflection is a feeling of very strong disassociation, accompanied by a kind of shock, confusion, or mental jarring. (Actually, the shock is what I notice first).
I have the strong, gut-level sensation that whoever is behind the mirror is not me. This feels just as wrong and surreal as it would feel if someone played a trick on you, and replaced the bathroom mirror with a pane of glass with a pantomime behind it pretending to be you.
My reflection in the morning feels like a mirage, feels alien, unreal, and very very distant. It causes my eyes to unfocus and for me to take refuge in my thoughts rather than being in the here and now." - Sophia
And from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/im-a-transgender-woman_b_4682300
"I’m transgender, meaning the gender that was assigned to me at birth doesn’t match the gender I identify with. For most of my life, I couldn’t articulate this feeling in a coherent way.
I started struggling when puberty hit, around age 12. I watched as my body turned what felt to me grotesquely masculine, and my mind began to feel as though it was in a fog of testosterone. My brain was like a Camry someone had tried to fuel with diesel — it wasn’t meant to run on testosterone. I wished I could be like the other girls in my class. Something just seemed right about who they were, how they were.
I sank into a depression that lasted for years. I didn’t understand why. I tried therapy, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, and anti-anxiety medications. They didn’t help. I finally gave up trying to fix it. I thought there was nothing I could do.
At age 26, after years of repressing these feelings, the dissonance between my mind, body and life itself became too much to handle. Every morning I woke up feeling more shame and anxiety than ever before. I took up smoking, a habit I’d kicked nearly two years prior. I couldn’t sleep without drinking, and I often drank until I couldn’t walk. Still, the feelings persisted. I considered suicide." - Parker
Notice that these two people experienced serious negative effects, none of which had anything to do with how they were treated. Neither of them mentioned ANYTHING about bullying, mistreatment, negative reactions from family or friends...nothing. It was all INTERNAL to them.
Nobody should be bullied. But the real distress people with gender dysphoria have is internal in nature. It's not mainly due to being mistreated. (though obviously being mistreated doesn't help, and in fact exacerbates the problem)