Children as young as age two may show features that could indicate Gender Dysphoria (dysphoria means sadness/distress). They may express a wish to be of a different sex and be unhappy about their physical sex characteristics and functions. They may prefer clothes, toys, and games that are stereotypically associated with the other sex and prefer playing with other-sex peers. They may experience sadness, anxiety, anger, or even depression about the difference between their experienced gender and their birth sex. For example, a child who was born female may insist repeatedly that they are a boy.
In most children, gender distress disappears before, or early in, puberty. However, for some children these feelings intensify, and strong dislike of their body can develop or increase as they become teens and their secondary sex characteristics develop. Alternatively, many teens and adults presenting with gender confusion or distress do not report a childhood history gender nonconforming behaviors. Therefore, it sometimes comes as a surprise to others (like their parents or other family members, friends, and community members) when a person’s gender distress first becomes evident in their teens or even many years into adulthood.
Some teens who experience their primary and/or secondary sex characteristics and their birth sex as inconsistent with their gender identity may be intensely distressed about it. Many, but not all, gender distressed teens have a strong wish for hormones and surgery. In recent years, significant numbers of teens have already started living in their desired gender role upon entering high school.
- – Resources for LGBT youth and their families.
- (Run through the Central Toronto Youth Services) – A great resources for families of teens and young adults who are questioning their gender or transitioning gender.
- – Phone and group-based support for parents, family, and friends of LGBTQ youth.
- – Family education information and research about the experiences, health, and well-being of LGBTQ youth.
- – Resources for gender creative kids and their families, schools, and communities.
- – Information to create gender-sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens.
- – BC-wide hub providing information about gender-affirming care and supports.
- – Parent-to-parent support network.
- – Provincial wide listings of LGBTQ healthcare resources
- (a program of the Sherbourne Health Centre of Toronto) – For LGBT parents and families
- – Guidelines and Protocols for Trans Healthcare
- – An 8-week social education series, and individual support for partners of trans people. 416-324-4180; email@example.com