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Psychosocial Overview of Gender-Affirmative Care

  • Jill Wagner
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Jill Wagner, LCSW, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, 1 Hoppin St, Ste 3055, Providence, RI 02903; Phone: (401) 444-4388
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

    Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island
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  • Andrew C. Sackett-Taylor
    Affiliations
    Department of Outpatient Clinical Services, Gándara Mental Health Center, Springfield, Massachusetts
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  • Juanita K. Hodax
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

    Division of Endocrinology, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington
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  • Michelle Forcier
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

    Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island
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  • Jason Rafferty
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

    Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island

    Department of Child Psychiatry, Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital, Riverside, Rhode Island

    Department of Pediatrics, Thundermist Health Centers, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
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      Abstract

      Transgender and gender-diverse youth and their families are increasingly presenting to adolescent gynecological providers for education, care, and referrals. These youth more often face mental health and social disparities that frequently go unrecognized or unaddressed by providers. A gender-affirmative approach focuses on providing emotional validation, psychological safety, and support to young patients and their families. With better understanding of the unique needs of transgender and gender-diverse populations, gynecological care can be personalized and delivered in a nuanced fashion to better address the sexual and reproductive needs of gender minority patients. In this article we review essential psychological and social considerations in caring for transgender and gender-diverse youth, including concepts relating to gender identity, affirmative approaches, means of assessing for risk and resiliency, and family dynamics. Ultimately, adolescent gynecological providers have an important role in promoting the emotional health and positive development of transgender and gender-diverse youth.

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