Trans Identity: The Tip of the Iceberg?

Gender dysphoria is complex and multifactorial. Immediate affirmation of a child’s attested trans identity may obscure the background circumstances that led to this conclusion. Child and adolescent trans identity — the tip of the iceberg?

We have produced this infographic to illustrate the complexity of what lies beneath the surface when a child, adolescent or young adult discloses a transgender identity. Often, immediate affirmation of the new identity takes place, which can inadvertently overshadow the many and varied background circumstances which may have led to this conclusion.

Clinicians, teachers and other clinical staff, together with social care workers and other allied professionals should always be mindful that a trans identity is rarely a stand-alone declaration to be simply taken at face value. Ignoring the underlying issues puts at risk the safeguarding of a vulnerable group of children and young people.

Regardless of identity, all young people deserve to be safeguarded and no child should be removed from safeguarding frameworks.