Ask Dr. Swanson: Gender identity

Ask Dr.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson discusses transgender issues and how to talk with your child about gender identity.

Statistics and risks

  • Transgender population is hard to define, may be less than 1 percent of teens
  • All gender non-conforming children at increased risk for bullying, anxiety, depression & suicide
  • 71 percent of transgender people said they hid their gender or gender transition to try to avoid discrimination

2014 Williams Institute study on transgender Issues

  • 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide
  • 57 percent report family choosing to not speak to them
  • Nearly 55 percent report being bullied and harassed
  • Nearly 70 percent experienced homelessness

What Communities and parents can do and teach

  • KNOW: If your teen has identified as a different gender since early childhood, less likely they will change their mind.
  • When your child discloses his or her identity to you, respond in an affirming, supportive way.
  • Accept and love your child as they are. They will need your support and validation to develop into healthy teens and adults.
  • Stand up for your child when he or she is mistreated.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of anxiety, insecurity, depression, and low self-esteem.
  • Connect your child with LGBTQ organizations, resources, and events. It is important for them to know they are not alone and a part of an accepting community

Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic

  • Provides care, puberty blockers, hormones, support, counseling to youth ages eight to 21 years

Offers services to youth:

  • gender does not match their sex at birth
  • do not identify with traditional definitions of male or female
  • Provide coordinated, evidence-based care in a supportive environment

Related: Seattle Children's to open gender clinic in October

Helpful Resources

Healthy Children

Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic

Copyright 2016 KING


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