Gender Affirming & LGBTQ Care
Gender identity and sexual orientation can be a confusing and difficult topic for adolescents, young adults and their families. Gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is a physical, romantic or sexual attraction to other people. No matter the gender identity, a person could be attracted to people of the same sex, people of a different sex, neither, or both. Gender identity is the innermost sense of self as male, female, both or something else. Transgender describes when gender identity is different from the sex assigned at birth.
What is Gender Affirming Care?
Gender affirming care includes helping a person align their body with their gender identity. There is not one or a correct way to do this. Gender affirming care can include therapy, changing the way someone dresses or their name, medicines, hormones and/or surgery. Different people choose different treatments, and over different periods of time.
Puberty or hormone blockers
Children and adolescents who are in puberty may choose to pause puberty using puberty blockers. These are temporary medicines that are completely reversible, they do not cause any permanent changes. Pausing puberty can give the child, adolescent and their family time to figure out what course they want to pursue, and also stop the progression of the birth assigned sex characteristics if they choose to proceed with a transition to a transgender body. If a child or adolescent chooses, they can stop taking puberty blockers and go through puberty in the usual fashion. Alternatively, they can instead choose to start hormone therapy to pursue a physical transgender transition.
Our providers can give hormones and medicines that block sex hormones to cause changes in the body that help someone pursue a physical transgender transition in order to look and feel more like a male or a female.
Not all transgender people choose to have surgery. But some do. Different people choose different surgeries based on what changes they want. Most surgeons prefer to wait until someone is an older adolescent or young adult before performing these surgeries. Surgical options include: surgery to the breast area and genital surgery.
Preventative Health Care for Transgender People
Transgender people need specific health care to screen for issues that arise from taking transgender hormones, in addition to checking hormone levels and regular health screenings based on their existing body parts (like Pap smear screening to detect cervical lesions for trans male young adults).
Our Adolescent and Young Adult Specialists are specially trained in providing guidance, education, support and gender affirming care to adolescents, young adults, and their families. We understand the need for confidential care and routinely provide confidentiality to the adolescent or young adult while also providing support to parents as needed.