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Transgender Youth. The Gender Centre Inc NSW 02 9569 2366. The impact on youth.

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transgender youth

Transgender Youth

The Gender Centre Inc

NSW

02 9569 2366

the impact on youth
The impact on youth
  • Very rarely, children may express incongruence between gender identity and the genital sex, but their discomfort is not always easy to identify. Symptoms of unease with the assigned gender role and the visible sex appearance are often only apparent to the individuals concerned and may not be understood even by them. If these children are unable to articulate their unease, their discomfort may grow through adolescence and into adulthood, as their families and society, in ignorance of their underlying gender identity, relentlessly reinforce gender roles in accordance with their physical appearance alone. However, some children are able to express a strong cross-sex identification, and sometimes insist on living in the opposite role. In particular, the increasing disgust with the development of secondary sex characteristics experienced by young people during puberty may be taken as a strong indication that the condition will persist into adulthood as transsexualism.. There is no evidence that the condition can be overridden by raising children in strict accordance with a gender role that is consistent with their visible sex
the impact on youth1
The impact on youth
  • Those who are not treated in adolescence may continue to struggle to conform; they may embark on relationships, marriages and parenthood in an attempt to lead ‘normal’ lives by suppressing their core gender identity. Ultimately, however, they may be unable to continue with the charade of presenting themselves as something they know they are not. The artificiality of their situation drives individuals to seek treatment to minimise the mismatch between the brain and the bodily appearance. They experience an overwhelming need to be complete, whole people and to live in accordance with their internal reality. Until this is achieved, the personal discomfort is such that it leads to great unhappiness and sometimes to suicidal feelings (GIRES UK)
the myths
The myths
  • Myth 1: Transgenderism is a mental health issue
  • Transgenderism is not a mental health diagnosis
  • Recent evidence has pointed to brain bias as a major determinant of gender identity. If, indeed, patients with gender identity disorders often have a brain bias consistent with their personal gender identity, then a reclassification is necessary. Ever-greater evidence seems to be mounting for this view, particularly in light of the extremely early age at which most cases of gender incongruence present.
  • Sexuality, Gender Identity
  • Author: ShuvoGhosh, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD
the myths1
The myths
  • Myth 2: Transgender people are all homosexual
  • A transgender person is not a gay or lesbian person who is seeking to reconcile issues of sexual orientation. The issue of gender identity is an internalized experience that focuses on the individuals sense of their own self. A persons sexual orientation is the experience of relationship with others. The two are not a continuum of one single phenomenon
the myths2
The myths
  • Myth 3: All transgender people will seek out medical transition
  • Not all transgender people will seek to resolve their gender and sex incongruence with medical intervention. Some people do not experience high degrees of discomfort with their physical bodies and rely on only social transition. Others may not be able to undertake medical transition due to cost or other factors such as other health concerns
the myths3
The myths
  • Myth 4 Young people are not old enough to know their gender identity.
  • Many people imagine gender identity to be similar to ides people hold about careers or life goals and interests. Gender identity is more intrinsically felt and as such there is a level of certainty within a young person as in all people about their sense of who they are.
the myths4
The myths
  • Myth 5 : All transgender young people will seek out medical transition
  • Not all transgender people will seek to resolve their gender and sex incongruence with medical intervention. Some people do not experience high degrees of discomfort with their physical bodies and rely on only social transition. Others may not be able to undertake medical transition due to cost or other factors such as other health concerns
three programs
Three programs
  • Early intervention:
  • Transtopia
  • Parent support group
  • Crisis intervention
  • Specialist accommodation for 16-21 yr olds
transtopia
Transtopia
  • Year long program for young people aged 16-18 yrs who are gender diverse , gender questioning or identifying as transgender
  • Group meets once per month as is facilitated by a counsellor, 2 young trans adults with expertise in youth and welfare
  • Each month has learning outcomes, specialised workshops or a social “fun” activity
  • Feedback from young people in the group indicates the group is successful as it does not avoid challenging issues that parents and many other service providers seem to avoid. For example issues of bullying and violence, family relationships and self harm have been topics for the group
transtopia1
transtopia
  • Young people also state that group is useful as the opportunity of shared experience with other teens with the same diverse challenges reduces the extreme sense of anxiety and isolation that many had endured for quite a lengthy time
  • The “fun” activities also are a great part of the program as these activities encourage the young people to celebrate and enjoy life moving away from just the “challenge” of day to day living
parents support group
Parents support group
  • Monthly meeting that is facilitated by a clinical psychologist and community worker
  • Each meeting has an educational component and a therapeutic component
  • Parents come to learn new things about gender issues such as legal issues, rights, safety and medical information
  • The second half of meeting is self directed as parents discuss and explore pertinent issues they are facing as they continue to support their transgender child
parent group
Parent group
  • One of the most significant issues raised to date in the parents groups is lack of information that can assist families to understand more about gender dysphoria
  • The Gender Centre has developed a resource booklet that has been the result of consultation with families and other services and government departments so that the information is up to date, accurate and relevant
accommodation
accommodation
  • Youth specific accommodation for young people aged 16-21
  • Womens Housing Company provided the Centre with a two bedroom apartment which has become a semi supported transitional housing pathway for 2 trans young people
  • Refuge based accommodation with intensive case management is also available for a further 3 young people
what can your service do
What can your service do
  • Some of the best strategies to support a young person include:
  • Offer reassurance
  • Acknowledge the “bravery' of the young person in choosing to dosclose
  • Assure the young person of your confidentiality
  • Make it very clear with whom this information must be shared
  • Allow the young person to express all the emotions they are feeling
what can your service do1
What can your service do
  • Reassure the young person that this experience is unique to them however they are not alone. There are many other trans people
  • Allow the young person the chance to express their fears, concerns and experiences
  • Ask what support the young person has and what supports they feel they are likely to need
  • Indicate your acceptance of the young person: acknowledge their diversity and validate it by letting them know it is okay to feel the way they do
a final thought
A final thought
  • One transgender women succinctly described her life experience :”You learn very quickly that you are not valuable, you are despised, disposable, always in a precarious position (especially with regard to institutions). Every time you have to show your identification and it has the wrong sex, every time you have a cold and your voice has dropped to a gravelly rasp. You never really know when it might come, or how bad it might be.”

It can be hoped that through acceptance and early intervention our emerging trans youth can be supported to not have this same description as the phrase that determines their life experience