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Children & gender identity

Gender dysphoria

* Introduction *
The NHS says that gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition and is not “a mental illness.”. Yet, by its very nature, diagnosis has to rely on self-identification and subjective feelings. There are no definitive tests that can be carried out and assessment must rely on self-affirmation. Parental voices are excluded by many clinicians, and ignored in favour of affirming a child-only perspective.

A number of therapists have spoken out recently about the pressure they are under within their clinics, from a culture that has allowed lobby groups to drive a narrative that insists self-affirmation is adequate for clinical diagnosis. Some clinicians have reported that an over-simplification of the process means they are not able to apply their own professional training, experience and knowledge to the young patients they see, especially for those with more complex needs such as autism.
(Source: "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria | Our Duty")

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* Gender Dysphoria in Children *
Sharp Increase in Incidence of Gender Dysphoria in Children and Young People:

Historically, the small numbers of children presenting with gender dysphoria were primarily prepubescent males. In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in referrals of adolescents, and particularly adolescent females, to gender clinics. Many do not have a significant history of childhood gender dysphoria and a number suffer from comorbid mental health issues and neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The reasons for these changes are understudied and remain poorly understood.

Childhood-onset gender dysphoria has been shown to have a high rate of natural resolution, with 61-98% of children reidentifying with their biological sex during puberty. The research into the course of gender dysphoria desistance among the cohort presenting with adolescent-onset gender dysphoria is still in its infancy, due to the novelty of this presentation. However, recent research from the UK clinic population suggests that 10-12% of youth may be detransitioning within 16 months to 5 years of initiating medical interventions, with an additional 20-22% discontinuing treatments for a range of reasons. The researchers noted that the detransition rate found in the recently-presenting population raises critical questions about the phenomenon of "overdiagnosis, overtreatment, or iatrogenic harm as found in other medical fields." U.S. data suggest that the rate of medical detransition has reached close to 30%.
(Source: "Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine")

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* History of Gender Dysphoria *
Historically, medical interventions to achieve the appearance of the desired sex were reserved primarily for adults with long histories of dysphoria. Medical interventions were preceded by a prolonged engagement with the patient, including thorough psychological assessments. While the population-level data on the benefits of adult gender transitions undertaken in prior decades remain mixed, with evidence of persistent mental health struggles and sharply elevated mortality and morbidity, a number of individuals who underwent gender transition following rigorous assessments have reported being very satisfied with their decision to transition, do not regret it, and live happy and productive lives.

However, around 2010's, there was a marked change in the approach to the management of gender dysphoria. A number of countries in Western Europe, North America, and Australia, began to promote the "gender-affirmative" model of care for youth. Under this model of care, young people presenting with gender dysphoria or asserting a transgender identity are affirmed in their desire to undergo gender transition, and are provided with hormonal and surgical interventions. While mental health professionals are often involved, their role is typically limited to preparing the young person for gender transition, regardless of any co-occurring mental health challenges or whether there was a relatively recent history of transgender identification. As such, the provision of medical intervention now happens with a much-reduced psychological assessment.
(Source: "Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine")

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* Related resources *
Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria | Our Duty - ROGD is the phenomenon of young people suddenly adopting a transgender identity without any prior indications.

Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) - Support for parents who question transgender ideology and wish to explore other means of treating gender dysphoria before rushing to transition our children.

Gender Dysphoria Support Network - The Gender Dysphoria Support Network (GDSN) offers support to families of individuals affected by gender dysphoria. The GDSN offers regular online emotional support, allowing sharing of experiences in order to resolve common challenges. We provide understanding and encouragement to concerned parents.

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