LGBTQ+ Resilience and Transgender Youth

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Transgender Youth

Transgender and other gender diverse youth experience stigma and discrimination that put them at increased risk for poor mental health and suicide, substance use, experiencing violence, risky sexual behaviors, and other health risks.
Yet, adolescents are resilient. Quality sexual health education, access to health care services, and safe and supportive environments can help all youth thrive in the face of risk and are critically important for transgender and other gender diverse youth.

Understanding the experience of transgender youth will help improve school environments, parental relationships, health services, and sexual health education and help to create more supportive environments for transgender youth.


Key Findings

School Environments

  • Transgender youth report feeling isolated and excluded in school environments.
  • Transgender youth express resilience by actively coping with these stressors through advocating for their needs and seeking out (and finding) connection with supportive staff and friends.

Sexual Health Education

  • Transgender youth consider school-based sexual health education unhelpful due to a lack of relevant information, inadequately trained teachers, and a perceived negative tone toward sexuality.
  • Transgender youth rely upon alternate sources of sexual health information, particularly online, where they found relevant information and a sense of community.

Parental Relationships

  • Transgender youth report receiving parental support generally in the form of housing, advice, affirmation, and expressions of love or caring.
  • Transgender youth report parents struggled to provide support specific to their gender identity, such as:
    • being emotionally supportive when youth came out to their parents as transgender,
    • chosen name and pronoun usage, and
    • assistance with social, legal, and medical gender affirmation processes.

Health Services

  • Transgender youth report facing challenges to accessing culturally competent and gender affirming health care, such as a lack of provider knowledge of transgender issues and inconsistent use of chosen name and pronouns.
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Significance for Schools, Parents, and Healthcare Providers

We all have a role in supporting transgender youth.

Schools can:
• Review and implement policies and practices to ensure inclusivity,
• Take steps to affirm gender identity,
• Intervene in bullying on campus, and
• Provide or refer students to comprehensive, affirming, sexual health services.

Parents can:
• Seek out resources and programming to assist with understanding, accepting, and gender-affirming behaviors.

Healthcare providers and office staff can:
• Take part in transgender cultural competency trainings, and
• Establish clinic protocols relating to confidentiality and chosen name and pronoun use.

Resources like these are provided by American SPCC – a national nonprofit dedicated to building positive childhoods for all children by empowering parents and caregivers with research-backed education and support.

This work is made possible by passionate donors and community advocates. Learn how you can get involved and support the mission here.

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LGBTQ+ Resilience and Transgender Youth