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MNAAP Newsletter

Gender Nonconformity: Understanding Steps and Care

By Rhamy Magid, MD, FAAP, HCMC

Increasingly, primary care pediatricians, as well as pediatric subspecialists, are caring for youth who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming (GNC). Rather than an increase in prevalence, this phenomenon is more likely a testament to a gradually improving cultural environment, both nationally and in the state of Minnesota.

In the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, 3 percent of 9th graders and 2 percent of 11th graders considered themselves transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or were unsure about their gender identity. We have a responsibility and an opportunity to lift the health and the spirits of one of our most vulnerable patient subpopulations.

In the AAP’s July 2017 Statement in Support of Transgender Children, Adolescents and Young Adults, Drs. Stein and Remley affirm that the Academy “stands in support of transgender children and adults, and condemns attempts to stigmatize or marginalize them…As pediatricians, we know that transgender children fare much better when they feel supported by their family, school and larger community…The AAP supports policies that are gender-affirming for children.”

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Inclusive and Equitable Care for LGBTQ Patients


By Angela Kade Goepferd, MD, FAAP, Director of Medical Education, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Rhamy N. Magid, MD

As pediatricians, we are dedicated to the health of all children. Increasingly, this means addressing matters of sexual health, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Issues surrounding the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community have finally come to the forefront of public discourse in our country, presenting us with the opportunity to highlight the health needs of our LGBTQ patients.

As noted by the AAP Committee on Adolescence, “Being a member of this group of teenagers is not, in itself, a risk behavior…however, the presence of stigma from homophobia and heterosexism often leads to psychological distress, which may be accompanied by an increase in risk behaviors.” LGBTQ youth are at significantly higher risk than their peers for a number of health problems, including depression, suicidality, substance abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, homelessness, bullying, physical assault, survival sex, and sexual abuse. They are also significantly less likely to feel supported and understood by their parents, teachers and health care providers.

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