For Parents & Caregivers of Trans Youth

Questions? Contact Us

You want to make sure your child is safe and well. As the parent or caregiver of a transgender teen, you might find this challenging. You may feel unsure about how best to care for your transgender child.

Some data suggests that over half of trans youth attempt suicide. How do you keep your kid from becoming a statistic?

Care for Your Transgender Child: We Can Help

We’re here to help. Our providers can:

  • Help you understand the terms and concepts of gender identity
  • Walk you through your child’s healthcare needs and options
  • Provide local resources and support for you and your child
  • Connect you to other parents

The Teen & Young Adult Clinic at UVA has treated hundreds of transgender youth. We bring a wealth of deep experience in the issues of gender identity. We’ve seen what works to help youth live whole, authentic, and happy lives.

Gender Dysphoria

We use the term transgender when your child’s sense of their gender differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. This mismatch can cause depression, anxiety, discomfort, and distress. A provider may diagnose your child with gender dysphoria. This medical condition describes distress that:

  • Lasts longer than 6 months

  • Impairs your child’s ability to function in school and social situations

  • Results in the child disliking or hating their sexual anatomy

  • Comes with a strong desire for physical features that match your child’s gender

Not every transgender person experiences gender dysphoria. And not everyone feels it as a child.

But puberty can kick off a range of negative reactions in trans youth. Upwards of 50% of transgender youth attempt suicide— many self-harm.

Along with counseling or therapy, trans youth often find relief through medical care.

But solving gender dysphoria isn't an automatic fix for underlying depression or anxiety. And the stress of stigma and bias doesn’t disappear, either. Your teen may continue to have emotional struggles.

Your Love & Care for Your Transgender Child

Research shows that transgender teens thrive with support and acceptance. Their mental health improves with affirmation from loving parents and caregivers.

When Your Child is Transgender

Mary Sullivan, an outreach coordinator at the Transgender Teen Health Clinic, walks us through 5 common myths about parenting transgender teens. She explains how communication, understanding, and respect can help rebuild and strengthen your relationship with your child. View transgender myths transcript.

Medical Transition Services

Puberty Blockers

For kids under 18, we offer puberty blockers. These hormones do not alter your child’s sex or cause harm. They do pause the growth of secondary sexual characteristics, like breasts and hair. This gives youth a chance to explore their gender identity. They can do so without the emotional baggage of puberty’s physical changes.


We prescribe sex hormones for transgender youth. These help kids who want to look and feel more like their gender identity.


Wearing a binder can shape a chest to look less female and more male. We’ll help your child find the right size. Your child can both learn the safe way to wear a binder.


Your child may express wanting gender-affirming surgery. Youth under 18 generally don’t have this option, due to health insurance policies. People over 18 have options for transgender surgery. These include:

  • Top and bottom surgery
  • Facial plastic surgery
  • Dermatology services
  • Speech therapy

View all of our transgender health services.