The care and treatment of children and adolescents in relation to their gender identity in the UK (2021)

Background Paper

Exploratory project

A transfeminine non binary person and transmasculine gender nonconforming person looking at a phone and laughing

Section 1: The nature of gender dysphoria

In carrying out our exploratory work, we found that disagreement about what gender dysphoria is underlies many of the disagreements about what the approach to care and treatment of young people should be. Some people think that gender dysphoria is a medical condition, and explain it as a genetic, hormonal, neurodevelopmental or psychiatric condition. Other people reject the idea that gender dysphoria is a medical condition, and understand it as either a social construct or a normal variant of gender expression.

In the absence of clear evidence as to what causes gender dysphoria, it is unlikely that a single agreed view will be reached. That being the case, we want to understand views on whether and how a lack of consensus on what gender dysphoria is, and what causes it, should affect the approach to care and treatment.

  1. How should gender dysphoria be characterised?
  2. In your view, how should young people with gender dysphoria be treated, cared for, or supported?
  3. Do you think that treatment and care of gender diverse young people should take into account the deep disagreement about the nature and causes of gender dysphoria? If so, how?