Gender Creative Children and Adolescents (gCHAD)

Gender creative children and adolescents

Sexual and gender development are a natural part of human development. If a child or adolescent in your care is experiencing issues related to gender, we can help. Children and adolescents develop differently, and it is not unusual for some children, adolescents, and their families to need professional assistance to understand and treat a range of gender issues.

At the MHealth Fairview Sexual and Gender Health Clinic, we specialize in treating children and adolescents with gender issues and children and adolescents with a range of medical conditions who can benefit from ongoing psychological support and psychosexual education.

In both of these areas, our clinical staff is working to develop guidelines and treatment models that are based on the best available science and sensitive to the physical, emotional, and identity development of children and adolescents.

Gender Exploration for Children and Adolescents

Our treatment approach with children and adolescents is non-judgmental and affirming. We recognize diversity and fluidity in gender identity and expression. We strive to provide the youth with a safe place to explore who they are and make decisions about how to most authentically express their identity. We also work on developing the resiliency needed to effectively cope with the societal stigma that is unfortunate but often a reality for children/adolescents who are gender creative.

It is not uncommon for caregivers to experience a range of emotions (including confusion, grief, guilt and fear for their child’s safety) in coming to terms with what their child’s gender creativity means for them. Thus, we provide education and support to caregivers to navigate these challenges. We also invite caregivers of adolescents to participate with their adolescents in a group component where they have the opportunity to meet other caregivers who are facing similar circumstances.

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Clinical Services

  • Psychological assessment of child/adolescent in conjunction with their caregiver/s
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Customized treatment plans that incorporate caregivers as well as other family members (such as siblings) as needed
  • Coordination of care with psychiatric services
  • If appropriate, physical health care including medical exams needed to safely provide puberty suppression medication as well as feminizing and masculinizing hormones.
  • Information sessions for caregivers designed to answer questions and provide information about our treatment philosophy and process. While these information sessions are not covered by insurance, they are often very helpful for caregivers who are wondering about whether to bring their child/adolescent to the clinic.

Adolescent Gender Exploration Group

Our gender exploration group meets twice a month and is designed for youth ages 12-17. This group supports a spectrum of gender identities and provides opportunities for youth to not only learn from each other but to also get support and explore the issues that come up around their process of gender exploration.

Because we believe it is important for caregivers and youth to have opportunities to communicate with and better understand each other, parents/caregivers attend this group with their youth. However, it is also important that youth and caregivers build supportive relationships with others who are having similar experiences. Thus, a portion of each group is split into youth-only and caregiver-only times to give both youth and caregivers the opportunity to meet separately and explore the different issues brought up by the topics presented in the larger group. All of these group experiences are facilitated by experienced therapists.

Hormone Therapy and Surgery

The Center for Sexual and Gender Health offers up-to-date, evidence-based hormone therapy. When puberty delaying medication is indicated, we have an ongoing collaboration with a pediatric endocrinologist. For our older adolescent clients, our in-house physician provides feminizing and masculinizing hormones. When appropriate, we facilitate referrals for surgery.

Our guidelines for puberty suppression, hormone therapy and surgery are based on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care.

Consultation, Advocacy and Training

A wide variety of consultations are available, including guidance for school systems, youth organizations, workplaces and other environments in need of customized trainings. Our staff offers seminars, lectures and workshops as well as continuing education for health, education and social service providers.