Providers of Pediatric Care Have Role in Supporting Transgender Youth

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The AAP recommends that youth who identify as TGD have access to comprehensive, gender affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care.
The AAP recommends that youth who identify as TGD have access to comprehensive, gender affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care.

HealthDay News — In an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement published online Sept. 17 in Pediatrics, recommendations are presented to ensure comprehensive care and support for youth who identify as transgender and gender diverse (TGD).

Jason Rafferty, M.D., M.P.H., from Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues reviewed relevant concepts and challenges and offer suggestions for pediatric providers relating to care for patients who identify as TGD and their families.

The authors note that the AAP works toward all children receiving care to promote optimal physical, mental, and social well-being, regardless of gender identity or expression; any gender identity or expression-based discrimination is damaging. 

Consequently, the AAP recommends that youth who identify as TGD have access to comprehensive, gender affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care. Family-based therapy and support should be made available to recognize and respond to the emotional and mental health needs of parents, caregivers, and siblings of TGD youth. Pediatricians have a role to play in advocating for policies and laws to protect youth identifying as TGD from discrimination and violence. In addition, research dedicated to improving the quality of evidence-based care for these youth should be prioritized.

"What is most important is for a parent to listen, respect, and support their child's self-expressed identity," Rafferty said in a statement. "This encourages open conversations that may be difficult but key to the child's mental health and the family's resilience and well-being."

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