Anunnaki's Corner

For Parents: How to Screen for a Safe Transgender or Intersex Therapist or Doctor

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Both Transgender and Intersex children deserve to be medically and psychologically treated with dignity and respect and be given the human right to self-determine their own gender identity and gender expression.  So below I will share two separate lists of how this can be achieved.  These two lists are very different and will demonstrate the different problems both sets of children face.

The Difference Between Intersex and Transgender 

First, to clarify the difference between transgender and intersex.  Transgender is when a person is born with an endosex/dyadic body, (not intersex) but goes against their birth-assigned gender identity in stating that they are the opposite gender assigned, or by being a gender nonconforming or gender non-binary person.   Intersex is when you are physically born both male or female and will have one of the many intersex natural bodily variations.  Being born intersex can involve our chromosomes, hormones, genitals or reproductive system.  Being born with an Intersex variation is typically medically determined at birth but sometimes can be discovered later in life.

Like a transgender child, an intersex child can be assigned wrong at birth, and both groups of children can face many challenges when finding a therapist or doctor when assigned wrong.  Catastrophically, some intersex children have often faced being forced into nonconsenting surgeries or hormones they did not want as children or adolescence.  This violation can make it even more complicated to find therapists and doctors whom will help your family and child heal as their self-determined gender identity.

Being both Intersex and Transgender

One last note, occasionally a child can be considered both transgender and intersex. However, “transgender” is not always the label that should be used when an intersex child is assigned wrong at birth.    Plus, some transgender children are later medically discovered to have an intersex variation.  This will be a personal choice to go by both.  So please take care when labeling your child, intersex, transgender or both.  If your child is both intersex and transgender, you may want to use both lists to determine the correct questions to ask.


For the TRANSGENDER, GENDER NON-BINARY or GENDER NON-CONFORMING Child:
An important link to share with your new therapist or doctor: WPATH: World Professional Association for Transgender Health

  1. Do you have experience working with transgender, gender non-binary, gender nonconforming, or gender queer children?
  2. Have you or your office received training on working with transgender patients?
  3. What medical guidelines do you follow?
  4. How long have you been working with the transgender community?
  5. Do you work with other doctors, therapist, endocrinologists, pediatricians, etc, in the community?
  6. Are you willing to take the time to learn and give me and my child enough time during appointments to consult with you and get all our needs met?
  7. Will you and your office respect my child’s pronouns and social name, even if they go against their birth assignment and birth certificate?
  8. Are you willing to accept our language and how we define it as a family?  For example, my transgender child might not have gender dysphoria and may not feel they are in the wrong body and may not want all interventions to conform to the male/female binary.
  9. If my child does have significant gender dysphoria and wants all medical interventions to conform to their identity, are you willing to respect that and help them proceed when they are old enough for legal consent?
  10. Will you take the time to investigate to see if my child has an intersex variation?  Note: These variations could be chromosomal, hormonal, or due to having a physical variation that could be considered intersex.
  11. Are you willing to give my child hormone blockers to help them transition when adolescence starts?
  12. Last, are you willing to follow the guidelines of the WPATH (Wold Profesional Asociation for Transgender Health)? 


For the Intersex Child:  
An important link to share with your doctor: Here is a printable PDF File:  United Nations’ Intersex Fact Sheet

  1. Do you have experience working with an intersex born child?
  2. Do you agree with the United Nations’ Intersex Fact Sheet that states nonconsenting cosmetic genital surgeries on children should stop, and outlines how these surgeries can negatively impact those born with intersex sex characteristics?
  3. How do you feel about children receiving cosmetic genital corrective surgeries or surgically being assigned a gender as a nonconsenting child?
  4. Are you comfortable with giving a child born intersex their own self-determination of their own personal gender identity and control over what surgeries or hormone treatments they may, or may not want when of the age of consent?
  5. Are you willing to take the time to learn about intersex bodily variations and be able to give me and my child enough time to consult with you and get all our needs met?
  6. Are you aware of comorbid medical conditions that many intersex people face, and if not informed are you willing to learn in order to be more helpful?  Note: Many intersex natural variations make us more susceptible to predisposed medical conditions that will need to be addressed responsibly by a genetic specialist, and many other medical specialists.
  7. Will you and your office respect my child’s pronouns and social name, even if they go against their birth assignment and birth certificate?
  8. Are you willing to change language from “disorder of sex development” to calling my intersex child a “natural bodily variation” instead of concentrating on their diagnosis, and pathologizing their body by calling this a “condition”, “disorder”, “syndrome” or “birth defect”?
  9. Will you help my child to have no body shame and that “No Body is Shameful”?
  10. Are you willing to think outside the box regarding hormones and respecting that not all hormones are simply just for males or females, that intersex hormonal variations can exist?
  11. Are you able to respect that not all “normal” hormone values are “normal” for a person born with an intersex variation and that hormones might fit outside these norms in order for that intersex person to be their healthiest?
  12. Are you comfortable in allowing a child to claim that their gender identity as both male and female, or neither, which might also mean that hormones will also be a mixture of both or even controversial?
  13. Are you ok with Accepting non-conforming or Gender non-binary gender identities, since some intersex people feel they are intergender, nonconforming, non-binary, or gender queer gender identities that sit outside the male/female binary?


The United Nations stands up for both Transgender and Intersex People:


Combatting discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people – UN-wide work

STAND UP FOR EQUAL RIGHTS & FAIR TREATMENT FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BI, TRANS & INTERSEX PEOPLE EVERYWHERE


Helpful Links: 

WPATH: World Professional Association for Transgender Health

World Wide Advocacy and Support List for Intersex and Transgender People

The Gender Affirmative Model: What We Know and What We Aim to Learn

A List of Intersex Educational Resources

Social Media Support Groups for Parents:

Intersex Support for Parents

Transgender Parents Family Support Group


Transgender Parenting

Parents of Transgender Kids