Some young people feel, sense or know they are a gender different than the one they were assumed at birth. They may live and dress in ways typical of another gender (gender non-conformity), and some may experience the need to live and be affirmed as this gender in some or all settings. This can be an urgent need, or for others, there may be experimentation and exploration. There are also some young people who show gender non-conformity in their everyday behaviors, but may not yet have the self-advocacy skills to discuss their gender identity and their gender-related needs.
The Gender Development Program at Children's National recognizes that each child's gender journey is unique. Our team has been supporting the gender needs of youth and their families for the past 20 years, providing essential care at a time they need it most.
Programs Related to Gender Development
Caring for Gender-Diverse Youth and Their Families
Our multidisciplinary Gender Development Program team understands that the gender development of a child may be confusing to parents and families, providers and sometimes young people themselves. Parents may wonder:
- How can my child's gender-related needs best be supported?
- How do we navigate our child's gender diversity in everyday life (e.g., with family, in school, when moving into adulthood, etc.)?
- Is my child transgender?
- Will my child's gender and gender-related needs change over time?
The needs of gender-diverse youth are often complex, requiring a multidisciplinary team approach and ongoing care supports over time.
As one of the earliest founded youth gender programs, we are a multidisciplinary team of specialists who work in the assessment and broad care needs of youth on the gender spectrum and their families. We also conduct cutting-edge research to move forward our understanding of youth gender development and ways to best support gender-diverse and transgender youth. Research findings inform all of our clinical care.
We work with gender exploring, gender non-conforming, gender dysphoric, gender non-binary, transgender and gender-questioning young people, and we see children and adolescents of all ages. We also work with youth who have genetic and other conditions in which gender variation is common.
Personalized Evaluations and Tailored Care
Comprehensive Services and Collaboration with Multiple Specialties
Unique Programs for Diverse Needs
Evaluation and Ongoing Supports
Your child’s care will start with an initial evaluation by our team. During this two to three-hour visit, you will meet the team together with your child and also separately. The goals of these visits vary from family to family and may include:
- Understanding the various aspects of your child’s gender development
- Screening for any mental health concerns/risks
- Support for parenting a gender diverse child
- Support for families navigating issues related to siblings, friends, school, etc.
We may ask you and your child to return for periodic follow-up visits. These visits can help us make a more extended evaluation. Your team also may suggest treatments or supportive services through Children’s National or in the community such as:
- Individual supports for youth and/or parents
- Family-specific supports
- School supports/interventions
- Support groups for you and/or your child
Recognized for Excellence
Our colleagues and peers have recognized the important care our Gender Development Program provides. Our advocacy and education efforts have been honored with the following national awards recognizing our commitment to providing compassionate, patient- and family-centered care:
- The Skylight Project Ma Vie En Rose Children’s Advocate Award, San Francisco, California
- The D.C. Youth Pride Alliance's 10 Year Anniversary Award
- The Stuart Nichols Award for outstanding achievements in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community mental health
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Gender Development Program
At Children’s National, we understand that families have many questions about their child’s condition and care. Review our frequently asked questions regarding the Gender Development Program to learn more.
Visiting Children's National
We’re here to help make your trip to Children’s National as easy as possible. Discover information about transportation and parking, visiting hours, where to stay during your visit, spending the night at the hospital and things to do in the area.