Specialized transgender care clinics are seeing increasing
numbers of youth identifying themselves as transgender. While it's known that
these young people have social and psychological vulnerabilities, a study
"Sexual and Romantic Experiences of Transgender Youth Before Gender Affirmative Treatment
" published in the March 2017 Pediatrics
(published online Feb. 27) found that sexuality is also challenging for
them. Although they fall in love, develop romantic relationships and take
other first steps of the common adolescent experience, they have less sexual
experience than their peers before gender transition treatments are initiated.
Researchers gave 137 gender-identity clinic referred adolescents a
questionnaire on sexual experiences like sex and kissing, romantic experiences,
sexual orientation, negative sexual experiences and sexual satisfaction and
found transgender adolescents were both sexually and romantically active but
less experienced, compared to the Dutch general population, with 5 percent
reporting that they had had intercourse and 50 percent reporting romantic
relationships. Researchers concluded that while sexuality is a key
developmental element of the challenging period of puberty for all adolescents
this seems even more so for transgender youth. Therefore doctors should be
discussing sexuality in the clinics and more research is needed to focus on sex
before, during and after gender affirmative treatments.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org
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