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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Feb;19(2):103-9.

The diagnosis and care of transsexual children and adolescents: a pediatric endocrinologists' perspective.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA 17033-0850, USA.


The normally developed child whose gender identity and anatomic sex disagree is referred to as a transgendered child, or as used subsequently in this text, a transsexual. The ramifications of this disagreement include a high risk of psychiatric conflict and maladjustment, for both the individuals themselves and their families. Despite the efforts of researchers to systematically study this group of children, many fundamental questions remain. In many respects, those lingering questions are shared by patients with physical intersex who have been cared for by pediatric endocrinologists. In intersex and transsexual patients, the medical community, although sincerely interested, remains wary to intervene in ways that may lead to further inconsistency between anatomic sex and adult gender identity. A perspective on the problems of differentiating permanent from transient gender identity, some thoughts on the most appropriate management of the transsexual child/adolescent as well as remaining questions are discussed. Both the flexible and therefore potentially misleading gender identity in children and the medical communities' pledge to first do no harm (primum non nocere) have regrettably fostered disharmony between gender disordered patients, their families, and the practitioners who want to help them.

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