This study explored how transgender (trans) youth and parents of trans youth made decisions around hormone therapy initiation as well as trans youth experiences of barriers to care.
Participants included 21 trans youth (ages 14–18) and 15 parents of trans youth who resided in British Columbia, Canada. Data for this grounded theory research consisted of transcripts and lifeline drawings collected through semi-structured interviews conducted August 2016 through February 2017.
The decision-making processes of youth and of parents are illustrated in three-phase temporal models, starting with discovery, leading to (inter)action while seeking care, and reflection after hormone therapy initiation. Youth who sought hormone therapy were clear about their decision to access this care. Throughout these processes, youth experienced numerous parent- and system-related barriers to care. Youth with the lowest levels of parent support experienced more system barriers, with non-binary/genderfluid youth experiencing greater barriers and less support for hormone therapy than youth with binary genders. A new barrier identified in this study was health care provider imposed requirements for parental involvement and/or approval, which rendered some youth unable access to hormone therapy.
Health care providers should be aware of the deliberation and information-seeking in which youth engage prior to seeking care as well as the temporally misaligned decision-making processes of youth and parents. Understanding the challenges trans youth experience due to insufficient parental support and system barriers can provide important context for health care providers striving to provide accessible, gender-affirming care and decision-making support for trans youth.
Clark B. A., Marshall S. K., Saewyc E. M. (2020). Hormone therapy decision-making processes: Transgender youth and parents. Journal of Adolescence, 79, 136-147. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.12.016.