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Guidance for transgender youth

Skylar Kergil, transgender activist in the United States

Amy Piermarini / WikicommonsSkylar Kergil, transgender activist in the United StatesAmy Piermarini / Wikicommons

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading organization that supports medical research in the United States, announced that US$5.7 million would be allocated to support a study on the effects of delaying puberty in transgender adolescents. To alleviate possible trauma in youths that question the gender identity assigned to them at birth, physicians have adopted a controversial treatment. Teens receive drugs that prevent the onset of puberty until they are mature enough to make informed decisions, and hormone treatment does not begin until they turn 16. The problem is that to date little is known about the psychological and physiological side effects of this type of therapy. Robert Garofalo pediatrician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and study coordinator, told the journal Nature that the goal of the research is to find the best way to provide medical assistance to transgender teens. The process of recruiting 280 volunteers will begin next month. One group will receive puberty blockers at the beginning of adolescence, while cross-sex hormones will be administered to a different older group.