Issues facing a gender non-conforming child

Learn about: Issues facing a gender non-conforming child from Johanna Olson, MD,...
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Issues facing a gender non-conforming child

In childhood children who were gender non-conforming can face a lot of different issues and some of those depend on where they are in the country. So different states even different counties within a state children will experience different from outside of them and I think it's important to understand that for a young person the might no know what's going on inside of themselves. A child doesn't really come out. A child just is who they are. And so a child choosing their natural proclivities for gender non-conforming behavior is the same as a child who chooses gender typical behaviors. So what all of the discomfort and anxiety really comes form the outside of that child. And they are going to experience different challenges from may be their family, from their school, from their church or some other religious affiliation. And all of those things can present a whole scale of problems for those kids. So little kids who are under 5 actually are somewhat protected if they have supportive families. For a child who says let's take an example a boy body child who really wants to do girl things. If their parents are okay with that and they don't see a problem with it and they let that kid wear dresses and may be paint their nails, and play with Barbies or dolls toys that child is going to experience a lot of happiness and be able to express who they are authentically. However, a child same situation a male body kid wants to do all of those things and the parent is very confused, very anxious, may be very angry very hurt, very confused - they are going to say No, you cannot do that. You are a boy, you have boy parts therefor you need to do these boy's things. And they don't let that child express themselves authentically, that child is going to star having problems inside of themselves and let me tell you why. Children who get the message over and over again from childhood that who they are is not okay, they end up building neural connection around that message. They internalize that message and they start self-loathing and that self-loathing process is going to put them in high risk down when they become older. But in childhood parents are going to experience a very anxious child who is probably socially isolated, who probably has behavioral problems. And what commonly happens these children get misdiagnosed. They get misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, ADHD, opositional defiance disorder and many timers they are put on the psychiatric medication to treat these symptoms. Sometimes they don't even know it's a gender issue and so they end up on a lot of medications they don't need to be on and these diagnosis that are not appropriate for them and sometimes no one has asked them the question Is this gender related?

Learn about: Issues facing a gender non-conforming child from Johanna Olson, MD,...


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Johanna Olson, MD

Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Health and Development, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Johanna Olson, MD is a pediatrician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Medical Director of the hospital’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development.  She specializes in the care of transgender youth, gender variant children, youth with HIV, and chronic pain. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She has appeared on ABC's 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, CNN, Dateline NBC and The Doctors to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth.

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