Journeys: Affirming gender diversity in young people
Gender is part of identity and part of our deeply felt experience of self. Gender diversity is an umbrella term used to describe the many ways that people can experience their gender that differs from their gender presumed at birth.
Gender affirmation describes the different processes that can support trans and gender diverse people to live and flourish as their authentic gendered selves.
Journeys is a collection of short videos that share the experiences of young people, families and clinicians on their journeys to affirming gender diversity in young people. This is not a list of do’s and don’ts, but a demonstration through lived experience of what inclusive and affirming mental health care and services can look like.
We recommend you watch the videos clips sequentially, however once you have done this, you can go straight to any individual video clip as a refresher of the content. It will take approximately 40 minutes in total to watch all the videos.
Towards affirming gender – where to start, why is it important and what might it look like?
So, where do we start? In this video Mac and Finn will start to explore gender, what gender affirming care is and why is it so important.
Working with young people
Gender affirming care is not an additional 'thing' that needs to be done when working with young people. Skills in engaging young people respectfully and empathetically are cornerstone for building therapeutic relationships. Although gender affirming care is an approach towards all young people it is important to have an awareness of the particular experiences and needs of trans and gender diverse young people. In this next video Asiel, general practitioner and Mac will explore what are some key considerations for mental health practitioners in their direct practice with young people.
Working with families
When we provide a service to young people we are also providing a service to their support systems (family, carers or significant others), either directly or indirectly. The pathway towards affirming gender diversity may be different for young people and their families and then also for individual family members. Recognising there are often vary different pathways and paces for which people move along their journey, services need to be responsive and flexible. In this video Mac and Finn, Olivia, coordinator, Queensland Children’s Gender Service, Janie, mother of Eli and Sally (trans advocate and founding member of TransFamily Inc.) talk us through how youth mental health services can be responsive and supportive of the journey of families in affirming gender of their young person.
Link to resources discussed in the video:
Medico legal considerations, privacy and confidentiality and finding support for inclusive practice
Like that of any service user, trans and gender diverse young people have the right to privacy and confidentiality. Privacy and confidentiality are essential aspects to health services management and governed under legislation. Building on these practices, careful consideration needs to be given to trans and gender diverse young people as we support them on their journey. Relationships built on trust and understanding and working within the boundaries of our practice, we support trans and gender diverse young people in their decisions about how their health information is shared. Exploring and understanding where a tarns and gender diverse young person is in their journey may dictate how what information is shared, to who and when. Noting that this may change and thus needs to be revisited regularly.
In this video, Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, adolescent physician at Royal Children’s Hospital will explore some of the nuanced considerations regarding privacy and confidentiality when working with trans and gender diverse young people.
Link to resources discussed in the video:
How can services create safe spaces?
Positive engagement with a service can have significant impacts on mental health and wellbeing outcomes. The physical environment is often the first experience of a service for young people. This first impression can speak volumes for young people about what the service is like and what they might expect. Young people may make up their mind about a service before they get a chance to speak to clinician. How can services engage trans and gender diverse young people as they walk through the door?
Orygen would like to thank partners at Telethon Kids Institute, our youth advisors and family advisors, members of our expert working group on gender diversity and youth mental health, and all the other brilliant people consulted in the process of developing these videos.
Special thanks to all the people who have appeared in the videos:
Asiel, General Practitioner, Northside Clinic; Associate Professor Ashleigh Lin, Program Head, mental health and youth, Telethon Kids Institute; Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, Adolescent Physician, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne; Finn Duff (young person); Janie, Mother of Eli; Mac Zamani (young person); Olivia Donaghy, Coordinator Queensland Children’s Gender Service, CYMHS, Children’s Health Queensland, Professor Rosie Purcell, Director, Knowledge Translation. Head, Elite Sports and Mental Health, Orygen and Sally Goldner AM, trans advocate and joint founder of Transfamily Inc, for sharing their valuable time and expertise.
© 2021 Orygen
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Suggested citation Journeys. Affirming gender diversity in young people [video]. Melbourne: Orygen; 2021.
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Orygen endeavours to produce high quality resources to support the learning experience of users. Due to restrictions related to COVID 19, there will be a variation in film quality.