Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Allowing Gender Expressions May Alleviate Suffering

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Allowing Gender Expressions May Alleviate Suffering

Article excerpt

In this issue of Pediatrics, Olson and colleagues provide evidence in support of social transition, a completely reversible intervention associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety in transgender prepubescent children. Socially transitioned children, or those who have adopted the name, hairstyle, clothing, and pronoun associated with their affirmed, rather than birth gender, have become more visible in the media over the last several years. Although to date there has been no published evidence to support providers in suggesting social transition as a beneficial intervention, many families, often guided by mental health professionals, make that decision based on observational evidence in response to seeing how suffering can be alleviated by allowing the children to express their own sense of gender.

The rationales cited by those who oppose social transition are that children cannot possibly know their gender at such an early age and that social transition could encourage children to later seek out treatment of medical transition. Proponents have argued that social transition is useful both in improving function in those children who are intensely gender dysphoric and in helping to test the waters so to speak; that is, giving the child a completely reversible way to explore life in the other gender before committing to any medical interventions. …

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