I am a child psychiatrist, I have been practicing for over twenty years. I have always worked in the public hospital, between inpatient services and a consultation activity. When I was trained, we thought that “normally” we had to accept our biological body. In France, there was no question of gender. That was not the subject!
Ten years ago, challenged by a colleague, I went to an international congress where I was amazed to learn that in England, Canada or the Netherlands, the studies evoked cohorts of children and teens who consulted for a “transition”. They were offered puberty blockers or a name change. We then opened a consultation on this topic. The demands have since increased exponentially.
Our principle is to help the young person to define how he feels, how he imagines himself as an adult … We do not question what he “feels to be”, even if we always leave the door open to a change in his. perception of itself.
Today, adolescents feel more legitimate in their questioning process, they have often seen testimonies which have guided the expression of their discomfort. There is a societal revolution in how to be allowed to define oneself, it is no longer necessary to take into account the biological limits of the body. It is a political position that has an impact on my discipline.
What remains very conflicting is knowing when the discernment of a child or adolescent is sufficient for him to be able to engage in a medical process, from blocking puberty to surgery. Things got very tense on this, between the pressures of LGBT + associations and the sometimes heated debates between colleagues. The difficulty is that we cannot describe a typical journey of transidentity. Each situation has its own particularity, you have to accept the complexity.