Developing Gender: The Medical Treatment of Transgender Young People

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12/10/2015 12:00 am

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Social Science & Medicine. Volume 143, October 2015, Pages 262–270 doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.11.031


  • Explores the medical treatment of transgender young people as an achievement.
  • Situates treatment in history of transgender activism, treatment, and normalization.
  • Analyzes biological development as obstacle and enabling force in standards of care.
  • Challenges developmental reinforcement of normative gender in treatment standards.


Situating the contemporary medical treatment of transgender young people – children and adolescents – in the longer
history of engagement between transgender activists and the medical community, this article analyzes the world
professional association for transgender health’s (wpath) standards of care (soc) concerning the medical treatment of
transgender young people. It traces how the soc both achieves medical treatment for children and adolescents and
reinforces a normative gender system by cleaving to a developmental approach. Without rejecting the value of
developmentally-based medical treatment for now, it offers some preliminary thoughts on queer theory’s valuation of
developmental failure as a potential future alternative to an emergent medico-technological transgender normativity.


  • Transgender;
  • Child;
  • Adolescent;
  • Gender dysphoria;
  • Gender normativity;
  • Hormone suppression therapy;
  • Queer

Author: Claudia Castañeda


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