Updates on Gender Health

July 1st, 2019

Updates on Gender Health

 

  • There is an increasing awareness of the importance of promoting gender health, in the service of our young people and their well being. 

 

  • There are many different experiences of gender presented by young people. Some may have heard phrases such as “gender questioning,” “gender spectrum,” “transgender not conforming (TGNC),” and “sexual and gender minority (SAGM).”   There are different pathways that folks may take over time as well. Hence, it is important to minimize assumptions and maintain an openness to change and evolution over time.  

 

  • Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for LGBT youth to avoid seeking care because they may think they will be discriminated against.  They may have had experiences of rejection from families or peers and suffer from isolation, depression, or violence, which can then also derail their development.  

 

  • In a gender affirmative care model, clients are encouraged to discuss with their providers their individual experiences, gender identity, and preferred name and pronoun.  The interplay of nature, nurture, culture, and time, sometimes referred to as “gender webs,” are thought to be different for each individual person, and can be fluid and change over time.  

 

  • A current recommendation regardless of individual gender webs is support for young people in where they are and help them to live authentically in their gender.  This way, they are better able to focus on key aspects of their development without focusing on “gender noise,” which otherwise can occupy a large part of their attention span.    

 

  • The family has been shown to be critical to gender health in terms of providing this support.  The individual and family should work together to secure social supports and build gender resilience.  There are generally thought to be four components to build this structure: mental health, medical health, legal supports, and educational supports. 

 

  • In the school setting, a Gender Support Plan can be put in place to help optimize success in school.  This way there can be a shared understanding between the school, the student, and the caregivers on how gender-related needs will be accounted for at school.  

 

  • “Reparative therapies” as they pertain to gender and sexuality, have been repudiated by many professional organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the American Medical Association (AMA).

 

Resources

 

-The UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center is an excellent resource, and patients and families travel there for care from all over the world.    

-Book:  “The Gender Creative Child,” by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Disclaimer: The posts on this blog are for informational purposes only and do not replace direct care from your mental health care provider. Contact your mental health care provider for specific questions or concerns about your own mental health. All posts are copyrighted, and the views expressed on this blog are representative of the opinions of Pacific Coast Psychiatric Associates (PCPA) as an organization.

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