Transition-related care is an umbrella term referring to a range of practices and therapies — from social behavior to health care treatments — that affirm a transgender person’s gender identity. It includes talking with a therapist or counselor, using the correct pronouns, taking medications that pause puberty or receiving hormone therapies.
This is often also called gender-affirming care.
Transgender adults make individual decisions about which combination of practices and treatments, if any, work for them. They consult with medical professionals about therapies and procedures. Parents, doctors and mental health care professionals are also involved in making decisions about the practices and treatments that make the most sense for transgender children.
Most transgender American adults say transitioning has made them more satisfied with their lives, according to a KFF/Washington Post survey released March 23.
Studies have found that transgender youth who take puberty blockers are significantly less likely to experience lifelong suicidal ideation than those who want the care and don’t get it. And studies show psychological trauma is reduced and life satisfaction increases when people who want transition-related hormone therapy get it.
Major medical associations support transition-related care. They include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the Endocrine Society, the World Medical Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
“The bottom line is, gender-affirming care is something that is evidence-based. There are multiple medical organizations that have reviewed the literature,” said Texas Pediatric Society president Louis Appel. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. … These are complicated issues that really are best dealt with in the context of the physician-patient-family relationship.”
Providers overwhelmingly follow a care timeline set up by major national and global medical organizations. For example, the Endocrine Society, among other health organizations, recommends waiting until a teenager can give informed consent — usually around age 16 — to start hormone therapy. Major medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the Endocrine Society have published guidelines on age-appropriate timelines for care.
“Cisgender teenagers, together with their parents or guardians, are currently deemed competent to give consent to various medical treatments,” an Endocrine Society statement says. “Transgender teenagers should be afforded the same legal rights.”
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune