Gender Identity

There is a growing awareness of gender identity issues in children.  “Gender Dysphoria” is a condition that can occur when these issues are not identified early and provide understanding of the stress that can result from this struggle with identity.  It is often the gateway diagnosis that gives access to other medical treatments, but unfortunately, it sometimes defines a person’s search and journey in a negative way.

Gender Affirming Therapy is a therapeutic stance that focuses on affirming a patient’s gender identity and does not try to “repair” it.

The core themes of gender affirming therapy include the following:


TGNC (Trans and Gender Non-conforming) people have essentially grown up and live in a world that is, more often than not, transphobic. Encountering messages and behaviors that discourage and are hostile to gender diversity creates the experience of repeated trauma with physical and psychological effects.


The feeling of being flawed or different leads to shame. Avoidance of the feeling of shame can cause anxiety.


Those who suffer from repeated trauma may have higher levels of depression. TGNC people have a disproportionately high rate of mental illness that is influenced in part by lack of societal support.


TGNC people have been shown to have high levels of suicidal ideation and as many as 50% have attempted suicide in their lifetime. This is influenced by the lack of social supports and transphobic hostility that is repeated over time.


TGNC people are often the victims of hate crimes and at least 25% have reported being attacked in their lifetime.


Those who live on a more diverse gender spectrum are still placed into discrete “boxes” regarding their sexual orientation. It is important to understand that sexual orientation can present in many forms and can be fluid over time.

Medical Treatment

Exploring the pros and cons of hormone interventions is important, along with helping the individual understand where they fit on the gender spectrum.

Societal Stigma

This includes exploring feelings related to “passing” or not passing as a particular gender and how to navigate an often transphobic world. This also includes helping TGNC patients find social support and families of choice.

Core interventions include the following:

  • Gender affirmation
  • Space for processing and understanding
  • Linking to social supports, legal services, health care providers
  • Creating a safe zone
  • Allowing for diversity
  • Reflection and empathy