Do we support gender affirming care for minors?

BY: Cori Marshall| January 20, 2021
Do we support gender affirming care for minors?
QDo you support minors using HRT drugs?

Hi, and thanks for your question. My name is Cori Marshall.  I’m a CPUSA member and a board-certified family physician in rural Pennsylvania. I provide primary care to transgender people from childhood to old age and at different stages of gender exploration and affirmation.

The simple answer is yes. Gender affirming care in adolescent populations is the standard of care, recognized as appropriate by most medical associations including my own professional society, the American Academy of Family Physicians.

It is important to understand what this care actually involves. Prior to the onset of puberty, care is targeted at helping families and communities to create an open, welcoming and non-judgmental environment to allow the child to explore their gender identity. For most people, gender identity is stable from the onset of puberty throughout their adult life. Initial therapy when a child starts puberty is with puberty blocking medications. These medications can block the initial changes associated with puberty without making any permanent changes. This can provide more time for transgender youth to make decisions about their future treatment goals. Typically gender affirming hormone therapy would be offered next.

Often, opposition to gender affirming therapy in adolescents is based on an idea that they are too young to make that choice and it should be delayed until they are older. It’s important to realize that denying gender affirming therapy is as much a choice as giving it. I would no sooner deny gender affirming therapy to a transgender boy than I would force estrogen on a cisgender boy.

Hope this helps.


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