Gender (De)Transitioning Before Puberty? A Response to Steensma and Cohen-Kettenis (2011)
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In a Letter to the Editor, “Gender Transitioning before Puberty?”, Steensma and Cohen-Kettenis (2011) cautioned against prepubertal gender transition by referring to two children assigned female at birth who, they say, had “transitioned when they were in elementary school” and subsequently struggled with returning to “their original gender role.” In one case, the fear of being teased or excluded for this contemplated change led to over two years of struggling (Steensma, Biemond, de Boer, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2010).
Using those two cases as an example of distress brought on by social transition in youth whose gender dysphoria will later remit, they cautioned against “taking steps that are difficult to reverse.” In support of the Dutch protocol, which typically promotes waiting until puberty to socially transition (de Vries & Cohen-Kettenis, 2012), they point out that “[i]t is conceivable that the drawbacks of having to wait until early adolescence (but with support in coping with the...
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