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  • Thursday, February 2, 2017

    February 04, 2017 1:30 PM - February 04, 2017 3:00 PM

    Centennial Hall A

    • Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD; MS ;
    • Jennifer Hastings, MD ;
    • Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW ACSW
    Mini-Symposium Outline: Increasing numbers of youth presenting for care related to gender dysphoria are endorsing gender identities that fall outside of the historical dichotomy of male or female. While non-binary gender identity is conceptually not a new phenomenon, the language of gender is being expanded and adapted by transgender youth in a way that is specific to a dynamic and evolving socio-cultural environment. Gender fluid, genderqueer, gender neutral, agender, demi-boy, and demi-girl are only a few of the many identities that are being explored and named so that youth may have a more accurate and expanded lexicon to describe their gender experience. Requests for the use of non-binary pronouns such as they, ze, hir or others often cause consternation for family members, professionals and other community members, even more so than the changing of pronouns from 'he' to 'she,' or vice versa. A non-binary identity may be a strategic political statement, or a safer place for those beginning their gender journey. A non-binary identity may be a stepping-stone for some youth on the way to male or female, for others, a landing place after passing through male or female.   The needs and desires of non-binary identified youth range from no medical intervention at all, simple chest surgery without hormones, to more complicated combinations of phenotypic features that include the use of medications not commonly used in physical gender transition care. Requests for medical interventions of far greater phenotypic nuance than "feminizing" or "masculinizing" may cause confusion for providers. Non-binary transgender youth often do not desire all of the features typically expected from testosterone, or estrogen, which may be misconstrued by providers as ambivalence about phenotypic transition. The gender binary is limiting not only in describing the experience of gender, but also in the development of medical and mental health care protocols. There is a clear lack of consensus among professionals across disciplines about the role of mental and medical providers in the care of non-binary identified youth.  This mini symposium will review some of the interventions that non-binary identified youth have requested of their providers, explore the challenges of development, societal integration, language, and medical decision making for non-binary youth. Case examples will highlight the presentations of non-binary youth across disciplines, as well as elicit further thought and discussion about optimal approaches to care for this unique group of youth.
    Category: Children and Adolescents: Mental Health