Article Title:Earlier identification needed for transgender
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com News Staff
Published on:5th May 2004 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:2317
Text:Earlier identification and treatment of transgender people is a key to preventing self-loathing and suicidal feelings among the transgendered, says a Massey University health sciences lecturer, and changing one's gender should not be confused with changing one's sexuality. Commenting on a report this week that a Hutt Valley boy was given hormone treatment for four years from the age of 14 to become a girl and now plans to undergo surgery, Dr Suzanne Phibbs says the age limit on hormone treatment is endangering young transgendered people. "These people at that age are incredibly vulnerable to self-harming behaviour,” she says. “I would suggest it's probably not appropriate for very young people, no, but there are ways of having them in a holding pattern during puberty so that, when they are actually old enough to make up their own mind their body hasn't done that for them." Dr Phibbs, who gained her doctorate in the socio-cultural aspects of transgender people, stresses that changing gender is not the same as changing sexuality. "You can have transgender people, maybe a male to female transgendered person who identifies as a lesbian, for example...these people need support, not vilification..."    
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