For many years, a young person’s gender identity was proclaimed at birth was defined by a person’s genitals. This is known as gender assignment.
It is what has occurred for centuries regarding one’s gender, and places an assumption that the physical anatomy of a person matches the person’s gender. Gender assignment, however, is not always accurate. Gender identity is known as a young person’s psychological identification with a specific gender (male, female, both, or neither). Hence, one’s gender identity is no longer necessarily the gender that is physically assigned at birth.
Adolescents are taught at a very young age what it means to be a boy or a girl. American society and culture distinguishes the binary gender difference, whether it be through colored clothes, toys, language, and or pastimes very early on in a young person’s life. This can make it incredibly confusing and challenging for a young person who does not fit into the confines of the binary gender identity system. It is important to note that gender is a spectrum, as not all young people identify with masculinity and femininity. Allowing a safe space for a teenager to come to learn how they know themselves to be regarding gender identity is crucial. Encouraging this can help a young person with the development of self-esteem and self-confidence. Pacific Teen Treatment is an inclusive residence, welcoming any and all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation and identity. It does not tolerate any bullying or intolerance towards others, so as to insure a safe environment for all of its residents.
Gender Identity Terms
American culture notes male and female as the most commonly recognized genders. There are, however, many gender identity terms that have surfaced in the United States, over the past several years. Some of the currently used gender identity terms include, but are not limited to the following: cisgender, transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, and gender neutral.
A young person who identifies as cisgender is a teen whose gender identity matches one’s gender assignment at birth. For example, a teen who is cisgender would be a person who was born with male genitals and identifies as a male. Transgender is a term used for adolescents who do not identify as their gender assignment at birth. A transgender teen, for example, would be a teenager who was born with male genitals but identifies as a female. A person who identifies as genderqueer does not identify as a male or female, identifies as both male and female, or identifies as a combination of male and female. Genderfluid is a term that is used for people who do not identify as having a permanent gender, and whose gender changes over time. Teens who are genderfluid can shift between genders or identify with multiple genders simultaneously. The shifting of genders can be instigated as a response to an experience or at random. A young person who is gender neutral does not identify as male or female. There are many gender identity terms not listed, and most likely, there will be new terms coined in the future.
Adolescence is an extremely confusing time, filled with many physiological changes. As a parent of a young person discovering his or her gender identity it is essential to be respectful and supportive. If you are unsure as to how to best support your teenager through this discovery process, you should contact a mental health professional for guidance. Teens go through an incredible amount of growth throughout adolescence, and the support of a parent can make a huge difference in one’s experience.
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. In order to maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Seeking support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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