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11-Jun-2019 13:33

Cultural sensitivity and awareness begins with front office staff, and other staff that are initial points of contact for parents and patients.

Staff and provider inquiry about, and consistent use of appropriate pronouns and name is the first, and potentially most important step toward creating a culturally sensitive and welcoming environment.

This is often necessary in geographic locations without available or accessible mental health professionals.

Over the past five years, it has become increasingly common for families with young children to request advice about the best way to approach their gender non-conforming child.

While historically mental health professionals have been charged with authenticating the gender of their TGNC clients, this approach is rapidly falling out of favor, and is being replaced by a support model, rather than a gatekeeper model of accessing care.[4] Mental health professionals play an important role in helping youth learn to articulate their gender experience, and identify their needs around a gender that is not aligned with their sex assigned at birth.

Therapists should spend time with young people gathering historic information from youth about their experience of their gender, and how that has been handled by the young person's support system.

Therapists can help youth clarify what they are hoping to gain from pubertal suppression, gender-affirming hormones, and/or surgery.

Unfortunately, because so few mental health providers are experienced in the care of TGNC youth, inaccurate recommendations are not uncommon.

Mental health support should not be sought in order to convince TGNC youth into accepting a gender identity that aligns with their assigned sex at birth, but rather, to provide a safe and welcoming space for young people to discuss and explore their gender, and any mental health challenges that may exist.

It stands to reason that transgender adults started as transgender youth, and if identified in childhood or adolescence may benefit from early access to hormone blockers and/or gender-affirming hormones.

While sparse data exist regarding the impact of puberty suppression and gender-affirming hormones administered during adolescence, there have been promising results from the Netherlands indicating that this approach in adolescents results in improved quality of life and diminished gender dysphoria.[1] The principle challenge in determining best practice for transgender youth lies in the fact that development is different for each individual.

Therapists can help youth clarify what they are hoping to gain from pubertal suppression, gender-affirming hormones, and/or surgery.

Unfortunately, because so few mental health providers are experienced in the care of TGNC youth, inaccurate recommendations are not uncommon.

Mental health support should not be sought in order to convince TGNC youth into accepting a gender identity that aligns with their assigned sex at birth, but rather, to provide a safe and welcoming space for young people to discuss and explore their gender, and any mental health challenges that may exist.

It stands to reason that transgender adults started as transgender youth, and if identified in childhood or adolescence may benefit from early access to hormone blockers and/or gender-affirming hormones.

While sparse data exist regarding the impact of puberty suppression and gender-affirming hormones administered during adolescence, there have been promising results from the Netherlands indicating that this approach in adolescents results in improved quality of life and diminished gender dysphoria.[1] The principle challenge in determining best practice for transgender youth lies in the fact that development is different for each individual.

Professionals can model appropriate use of names and pronouns in the presence of parents and caregivers.