An Online Wellness Magazine produced by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Identity Crisis

Discrimination of gender and sexual minorities jeopardizes their well-being

Identity Crisis

Nearly a decade ago, Ann Elder and her husband adopted a healthy baby girl to join their family. As her daughter grew up, Elder noticed that she was quite the tomboy — she loved to wear boys’ clothes, play sports and watch television programs about warriors and other masculine characters. At first, Elder waved it off, saying that she had been a tomboy, too, when she was young. She then noticed that every time her child played with friends, she always identified as a boy.

“I was a tomboy, but I never changed my gender,” Elder thought to herself. It was then she decided to visit with her pediatrician to get some insight.

“Have you heard of anything like this? My kid is physically very well, but there are behaviors I just don’t understand,” Elder asked her pediatrician during this initial visit. She was then referred to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed the child as gender variant at the age of 6. This could be a phase, the psychiatrist said, or her child could be transgender.

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