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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify

During adolescence, gender identity and sexual development matures. As independence grows, some teens may also develop a discomfort or distress between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth and/or sex-related physical characteristics. When this incongruence is associated with clinically related impairment, it is called gender dysphoria.

Those with gender dysphoria, especially adolescents, experience significantly more psychiatric and psychological suffering compared to their peers. These teens are four times more likely to experience depression and are more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide. Recent research demonstrates that 75% of transgender youth think about suicide and 30% make a suicide attempt. As adults, 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetime (compared to less than 5% of the general population).

Sadly, victimization and discrimination are very common as well. They are not just abused by bullying peers but may be inadvertently by their immediate families. Those with low acceptance within the family are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, suicidality, and use substances.

Families should note that gender identity may not stay consistent during this period. This is important because when families are not supportive in this period, adolescents may not process their thoughts regarding their gender identity as well as if they had a supportive and open family. On the other hand, when families are supportive, depression and anxiety levels reduce for everyone, and the teen can better process their thoughts and make appropriate decisions.

At Chapters Family Treatment Center, we focus on providing a safe environment for families and teens to learn and ask questions and explore their feelings without bias or discrimination. We also provide the necessary psychoeducation regarding medical interventions for gender dysphoria.

Our primary goal will always be to reduce conflicts among our families and help reduce depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric symptoms among our teens and keep our teens as safe as possible so they can continue their development during this imperative time.


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