Transgender Health

Research area:  Brain and mind

The vision of the Transgender Health team is to improve the health and well-being of transgender children and adolescents through innovative, high quality research.

happy childReferrals of young transgender individuals to specialist gender services have risen dramatically across the western world in recent years. Consistent with this, recent population-based estimates suggest that the prevalence of young people identifying as transgender is around 1%, which is much higher than previously thought.

Providing optimal clinical care for transgender young people is critical. A recent community-based survey of 859 Australian trans youth found a significant proportion had been diagnosed with depression (75%) and anxiety (72%), with 80% of respondents reported having self-harmed and 48% have attempted suicide (Strauss et al, 2017). Many of these young people lacked access to gender-affirming health care, and there is increasing evidence that providing supportive clinical care to transgender youth significantly improves mental health and wellbeing.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service (RCHGS) provides care to transgender children and adolescents and is one of the largest multidisciplinary clinics of its kind in the world. Previously, our team recently released the first-ever clinical guidelines (PDF) specific for transgender children and adolescents (Telfer et al, 2018) – as highlighted by a subsequent editorial in The Lancet article below - but there is a need for more robust empirical data to inform clinical practice in this nascent field.

The overall objective of our research program is therefore to produce high-quality research evidence related to child and adolescent transgender health. Importantly, our research activities have been developed in consultation with our community advisory group, consisting of young trans people and their parents. Through our research, our vision is ultimately to improve the healthcare, wellbeing and overall outcomes of trans children and adolescents and their families.

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Positions available

We are currently recruiting high-quality students who wish to undertake postgraduate research in transgender health. Interested applicants should send a statement of research interests, CV, and two references by email to  .