Since its conception in 2019, National Transgender Children Day is observed annually on October 26th. On this important day, families celebrate and affirm those children whose gender identities do not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. The goal is to create families and communities in which transgender children are safe to freely express their gender identities without threats of bullying, abuse, neglect, violence or ostracism.
On National Transgender Children Day, particular attention is given to the mental health of transgender children and their access to gender-affirming healthcare. Transgender children often experience gender dysphoria, a distress resulting from the incongruence between their biological sex and gender identity. Gender dysphoria puts transgender children at an increased risk for depression, anxiety and suicidality.
“Hiding in the closet” is a significant barrier to transgender children’s ability to access gender-affirming healthcare. Fear for their safety often keeps transgender children from “coming out.” Even after “coming out,” the ability of transgender children to access appropriate healthcare is dependent on the level of support they receive from their families.
By embracing our transgender children and welcoming them as important members of our families and communities, National Transgender Children Day is bringing awareness to the unique mental health needs of transgender children and taking actions to meet those needs.
Like National Transgender Children Day, mental health professionals play an important role in breaking down the barriers that transgender children face in accessing proper healthcare. Through education, advocacy and a commitment to transgender children, mental health professionals can properly address the symptoms of mental illness often related to gender dysphoria.
At MiraCare we are committed to providing gender-affirming behavioral healthcare to children and adolescents in our outpatient services and intensive outpatient services and our soon to be inpatient services and partial hospitalization program. To meet the unique mental health needs of underserved populations such as transgender children, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee has been established at MiraCare. The committee will inform the care provided by our practitioners.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, gender-affirming help is available. Call (866) 488-7386 or text START to 678-678 to reach The Trevor Project suicide prevention helpline. Chat is also available on The Trevor Project website. The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ+ young people.
John Anderson of MiraCare Group