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J Homosex. 2006;51(1):111-28.

Transgender youth: invisible and vulnerable.

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Department of Applied Psychology, The Steinhardt School of Education, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA.


This study used three focus groups to explore factors that affect the experiences of youth (ages 15 to 21) who identify as transgender. The focus groups were designed to probe transgender youths' experiences of vulnerability in the areas of health and mental health. This involved their exposure to risks, discrimination, marginalization, and their access to supportive resources. Three themes emerged from an analysis of the groups' conversations. The themes centered on gender identity and gender presentation, sexuality and sexual orientation, and vulnerability and health issues. Most youth reported feeling they were transgender at puberty, and they experienced negative reactions to their gender atypical behaviors, as well as confusion between their gender identity and sexual orientation. Youth noted four problems related to their vulnerability in health-related areas: the lack of safe environments, poor access to physical health services, inadequate resources to address their mental health concerns, and a lack of continuity of caregiving by their families and communities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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