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Understanding Gender-Affirming Care Options

For trans and nonbinary youth, gender-affirming care can be lifesaving. According to The Trevor Project, over half of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in the past year. Gender-affirming care helps reduce risks like depression and self-harm, allowing trans youth to thrive.

Options for minors include social transitioning, puberty blockers, and hormone therapy. Surgeries typically require parental consent if under 18. The level of care is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on individual needs and readiness.

With support from health professionals, families, schools, and communities, trans and nonbinary youth can access the resources they need to grow into happy and healthy adults. Gender-affirming care gives hope and helps create a future where people of all gender identities are accepted and affirmed.

Social Affirmation

Social affirmation means embracing your true gender identity through outward expression. This can start with adopting a gender-affirming name and pronouns that match how you feel inside. Ask close ones to use them when referring to you. Coming out to more people when you’re ready.

Expressing yourself through style is empowering. Try a new hairstyle, clothing, or accessories that align with your gender identity. Shop at stores catering to your gender or online retailers with inclusive sizing and styles.

Using facilities like restrooms and locker rooms that match your gender identity is validating and liberating. Don’t feel obligated to use ones that don’t. Advocate for gender-neutral and all-gender options if available.

Coming out at work or school takes courage but allows you to be your authentic self daily. Approach HR or a guidance counselor and ask about policies protecting gender expression and accommodations they can provide.

Hormone replacement therapy

Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy

Gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) involves taking hormones to develop characteristics of your affirmed gender. For those seeking masculinization, testosterone promotes the growth of body and facial hair, a deeper voice, and increased muscle mass.

For those seeking feminization, estrogen and testosterone blockers stimulate breast growth, fat redistribution to hips and thighs, and slowed body hair growth. GAHT is a big step, so discuss options with your doctor. They can help determine if hormone therapy is right for you and find the appropriate treatment plan based on your needs and goals.

Testosterone therapy

Testosterone comes in several forms – pills, gels, patches, and injections. Injections and gels tend to work faster, but all can be effective. Effects become noticeable within a few months, but maximum changes can take 2-5 years. Possible side effects include acne, mood changes, and sleep problems.

Estrogen therapy

Estrogen also comes in pills, gels, patches, and injections. Anti-androgens, like spironolactone, are often used to block testosterone. Physical changes happen over 2-5 years. Possible side effects include nausea, headaches, and blood clots. Progesterone is added for those seeking to stimulate menstruation.

Gender-Affirming Surgery

Gender-affirming surgery (GAS) refers to surgical procedures aimed at helping people transition their anatomic parts to match their gender identity. There are several types of GAS, including:

Chest surgery

For transfeminine individuals, chest surgery involves breast augmentation to enhance breast size for a more feminine appearance. For transmasculine individuals, chest surgery refers to mastectomy or removal of breast tissue to achieve a more masculine chest contour.

Genital surgery

For transfeminine individuals, options include:

  • Bilateral orchiectomy: Removal of testicles.
  • Vaginoplasty: Construction of a vagina, vulva and clitoris.

For transmasculine individuals, options include:

  • Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus.
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy: Removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Metoidioplasty: Release and enlargement of the clitoris to create a penis.
  • Phalloplasty: Construction of a penis using skin grafts and implants.

Facial surgery

Facial surgery may involve hairline adjustment, brow lift, rhinoplasty (nose job), jaw or chin reshaping, cheek or lip augmentation, and Adam’s apple reduction. The goal is to make facial features appear more feminine or masculine.

Lgbtq man in therapy

Psychological Counseling or Therapy

Psychological counseling or therapy can be an important part of gender-affirming care. Speaking with a therapist who understands what you’re going through can help you work through challenges, find support, and feel better about yourself.

Look for therapists who specifically mention experience helping transgender or gender-diverse clients. They should understand issues like coming out, transitioning, discrimination, and family dynamics. Speaking with someone who “gets it” can make a big difference.

A therapist can help you work through difficult emotions you may face, such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. They can provide coping strategies and help build your confidence and resilience. Talking about your feelings with a professional is often more helpful than isolating yourself.

Living Your Truth Starts With Loving Yourself

Living authentically starts from within. Loving and accepting yourself for who you are is the first step towards affirming your gender identity. If you feel you were assigned the wrong gender at birth, gender-affirming care can help relieve dysphoria and align your physical experience with your internal sense of self.

The path to living as your affirmed gender can take time and patience. But with the help of compassionate doctors and a strong support system at Recovery Riviera, you can get the care you need to become the person you were always meant to be.

Call us today at 855-207-9708 to discuss your options and take the first step towards living as your authentic self. Our caring staff is here to listen, understand your needs, and provide you with resources for this life-changing process. You deserve to feel comfortable and confident in who you are.