Hormones and surgery for transgender teens

Learn about: Hormones and surgery for transgender teens from Diane Ehrensaft, PhD,...
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Hormones and surgery for transgender teens

Teens today have something available to them that was not available to their elders, which is that they may be eligible for cross sex hormones. And after that, they may be eligible for surgery. And the most common type of surgery is what we call top surgery – a transgender men often want to have the breast removed – the breast that they grew when they were female. And there is also genital surgery to have your genitals conform more to your affirmed gender. I would say that the majority of people don’t actually have the surgery. But many people use hormones. And many youth today are seeking out hormones, so that they can have their body match the gender they know themselves to be. And that is the pro of using hormone therapy if you identify as transgender, so that you can feel more in sync – body and mind. The cons that some people bring up around hormone therapy is, “Are teens really old enough to be able to make permanent, life-changing decisions about their body that are entailed if you use hormone therapy?” And it is my observation that, of course, some teens are not. But with a careful evaluation a teen who is allow the opportunity to take hormones to create a better match between their affirmed identity and their body has all to gain and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Learn about: Hormones and surgery for transgender teens from Diane Ehrensaft, PhD,...


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Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD is a developmental and clinical psychologist in Oakland, California. She is a parenting expert and also specializes in gender studies and psychotherapy and consultation with gender nonconforming children and their families. She is the author of Gender Born, Gender Made:  Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children; Mommies Daddies, Donors, Surrogates, Building a Home Within (co-edited with Toni Heineman), Spoiling Childhood, and Parenting Together. Dr. Ehrensaft has made many media appearances, most recently the Anderson Cooper Day show, and has presented and published both nationally and internationally on the subjects of parenting, child development, assisted reproductive technology, and children’s gender development and gender nonconformity.

Dr. Ehrensaft is the Director of Mental Health of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a University of California San Francisco-community partnership offering interdisciplinary services to gender conforming children and youth and their families, as well as the psychologist at the UCSF Gender Clinic.

She serves on the faculty of The University of California and is a founding member of A Home Within, a national non-profit organization serving the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care.

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