Trans youth

Transgender children and adolescents do not identify with the gender presumed for them at birth and have unique healthcare needs that warrant further research.

Being transgender or gender diverse, also referred to as ‘trans,’ is not a mental health problem but rather part of the natural spectrum of human diversity. Despite that, many young trans people experience gender dysphoria and other mental health concerns.

Gender dysphoria is the distress felt by people whose gender (sense of being male, female or something else) differs from what was assigned to them at birth based on their genital appearance. For some trans people, this difference between their gender identity and physical characteristics can cause significant distress.

Referrals of young trans individuals to clinical services have risen considerably across the Western world.

There is increasing evidence that providing supportive clinical care to trans children and adolescents significantly improves their health and wellbeing, but many young trans people lack access to such care.



Trans youth

Who does it affect?

Who does it affect?

  • Recent estimates suggest that the number of young people identifying as trans is about one in 100 in the Western world, much higher than previously thought.
  • The number of referrals to The Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service has grown considerably in recent years, with around 400 new referrals in 2023.

Our transgender health research

Our transgender health research

Our Transgender Health group’s overall objective is to produce high-quality research evidence that improves the health and wellbeing of young trans people in Australia and globally.

Our research activities have been developed in consultation with our community advisory group, which consists of young trans people and their parents, plus organisations that support trans youth.

Other transgender health studies we are conducting include:

  • A large longitudinal study, known as Trans20, has been determining the long-term physical and mental health outcomes of trans children and adolescents attending The Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service.
  • A research program examining the role of new psychological interventions to better support trans young people, especially those who currently face long waiting times to access services.
  • Studies examining the physical and cognitive effects of medications used to suppress unwanted pubertal development in trans adolescents.
  • A project to better understand the concept of gender euphoria, which describes the positive feelings that arise about a person’s gender identity and how they can express or affirm this identity.
  • Research projects exploring various ethical issues related to the provision of health care to trans young people.



Our vision

Our vision

Our vision is to improve the healthcare, wellbeing and overall outcomes of trans children and adolescents and their families.

Where to next?

Where to next?

Looking ahead, in consultation with the trans community, we aim to continue conducting innovative research, such as our flagship Trans20 study, that will allow us to achieve this vision.