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Reidentification With Birth-Registered Sex in a Western Australian Pediatric Gender Clinic Cohort

Gender-Affirming Care & Transition Research
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Authors: Cavve, B. S., Bickendorf, X., Ball, J., Saunders, L. A., Thomas, C. S., Strauss, P., Chaplyn, G., Marion, L., Siafarikas, A., Ganti, U., Wiggins, A., Lin, A., & Moore, J. K.
Date of publication: 2024
Journal: JAMA Pediatrics, e240077. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2024.0077

Summary: Some young people who identify as transgender and seek gender-affirming medical care subsequently reidentify with their sex registered at birth. Evidence regarding the frequency and characteristics of this experience is lacking. In this Australian study the research team sought to
determine the frequency of reidentification and explore associated characteristics in a pediatric gender clinic setting. They did this by looking at all referrals to the Child and Adolescent Health Service Gender Diversity Service at Perth Children’s Hospital between 2014 and 2020. The Gender Diversity Service is the sole statewide specialist service in Western Australia that provides children and adolescents up to age 18 years with multidisciplinary assessment, information, support, and gender-affirming medical care. All closed referrals for this study were audited between May 1, 2021, and August 8, 2022.

The researchers found that 5.3% of referral closures at the PCH Gender Diversity Service (2014-2020) that were closed by the end of 2020 were closed due to reidentification with birth-registered sex. When they cross-referenced with clinical records, they found that that two patients had started gender-affirming medical treatment before re-identification closure. This corresponds to 1% of all those who had received gender-affirming medical treatment.

The researchers concluded that a small proportion of patients, and a very small proportion of those who initiated medical gender-affirming treatment, reidentified with their birth-registered sex during the study period. Longitudinal follow-up studies, including qualitative self-report, are required to understand different pathways of gender identity experience. They stress that all youth should be supported, regardless of future stability or continued evolution of gender identity. It is important that people feel supported and reassured they will continue to receive high quality medical care if they do reidentify with their birth-registered sex. Clinical practice can be enhanced by regular check-ins with all patients regarding satisfaction, current needs, and wishes regarding affirmation.

You can read the study summary only here