Gender-affirming care improves the mental health of transgender youth


adolescence: A transitional stage of physical and psychological development that begins at the onset of puberty, typically between the ages of 11 and 13, and ends with adulthood. Someone in that transitional stage is called an adolescent.

anxiety: A nervous reaction to events causing excessive uneasiness and apprehension. People with anxiety may even develop panic attacks.

average: (in science) A term for the arithmetic mean, which is the sum of a group of numbers that is then divided by the size of the group.

body image: The impression individuals have about how attractive or comfortable they feel about the way their body is shaped — or how it looks when they view it in a mirror.

cancer: Any of more than 100 different diseases, each characterized by the rapid, uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.

cholesterol: A fatty material in animals that forms a part of cell walls. In vertebrate animals, it travels through the blood in little vessels known as lipoproteins. Excessive levels in the blood can signal risks to blood vessels and heart.

cisgender: Someone whose gender identity matches that of the sex they were assigned at birth. (The Latin prefix cis- means “on the same side.”)

clinical: (in medicine) A term that refers to diagnoses, treatments or experiments involving people.

cohort: A large group of people that have some important feature or features that distinguish them. For instance, they may be a group of people who work for the same large company. They may be a group of people who come from the same area or are around the same age. They may be a large segment of a population that has the same health or behavioral characteristics.

criteria: (sing. criterion) The standards, rules, traits or other things used to make a judgment or determination about something.

depression: (in medicine) A mental illness characterized by persistent sadness and apathy. Although these feelings can be triggered by events, such as the death of a loved one or the move to a new city, that isn’t typically considered an “illness” — unless the symptoms are prolonged and harm an individual’s ability to perform normal daily tasks (such as working, sleeping or interacting with others). Many times, these feelings seem to be triggered by nothing; they can appear out of nowhere.

develop: To emerge or to make come into being, either naturally or through human intervention, such as by manufacturing. (in biology) To grow as an organism from conception through adulthood, often undergoing changes in chemistry, size, mental maturity or sometimes even shape. (as with towns) The conversion of wildland to host communities of people. This development can include the building of roads, homes, stores, schools and more. Usually, trees and grasslands are cut down and replaced with structures or landscaped yards and parks.

development: (in biology) The growth of an organism from conception through adulthood, often undergoing changes in chemistry, size and sometimes even shape.

diversity: A broad spectrum of similar items, ideas or people. In a social context, it may refer to a diversity of experiences and cultural backgrounds. (in biology) A range of different life forms.

egg: A reproductive cell that contains half of the genetic information necessary to form a complete organism. In humans and in many other animals, ovaries produce eggs. When an egg fuses with a sperm, they combine to produce a new cell, called a zygote. This is the first step in the development of a new organism.”

endocrinologist: A doctor who specializes in conditions affecting the production of hormones or the body’s response to hormones.

estrogen: The primary female sex hormone in most higher vertebrates, including mammals and birds. Early in development, it helps an organism develop the features typical of a female. Later, it helps a female’s body prepare to mate and reproduce.

evolve: (adj. evolving) To change gradually over generations, or a long period of time. In living organisms, such an evolution usually involves random changes to genes that will then be passed along to an individual’s offspring. Nonliving things may also be described as evolving if they change over time. For instance, the miniaturization of computers is sometimes described as these devices evolving to smaller, more complex devices.

factor: Something that plays a role in a particular condition or event; a contributor.

fertility: Ability to reproduce.

gender: The attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as being the norm. Behaviors that are incompatible with these expectations are described as non-conforming.

gender identity: A term for someone’s strong internal sense of being male, female, both, neither or somewhere in between. While a person’s gender identity commonly matches the sex they were assigned at birth, this isn’t always the case.

high school: A designation for grades nine through 12 in the U.S. system of compulsory public education. High-school graduates may apply to colleges for further, advanced education.

hormone: (in zoology and medicine) A chemical produced in a gland and then carried in the bloodstream to another part of the body. Hormones control many important body activities, such as growth. Hormones act by triggering or regulating chemical reactions in the body. (in botany) A chemical that serves as a signaling compound that tells cells of a plant when and how to develop, or when to grow old and die.

implant: A device manufactured to replace a missing biological structure, to support a damaged biological structure, or to enhance an existing biological structure. Examples include artificial hips, knees and teeth; pacemakers; and the insulin pumps used to treat diabetes. Or some device installed surgically into an animal’s body to collect information on the individual (such as its temperature, blood pressure or activity cycle).

intervention: Deliberate action taken to bring about some anticipated outcome. (in medicine) A planned effort to prevent or treat a disease or other condition relating to health or well-being.

LGBTQ: An acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. These are terms by which people may define their sexual orientation or gender identity.

masculine: Of or relating to men.

mature: (adj.) Connoting an adult individual or full-grown and fully developed (non-juvenile) form of something. (verb) To develop toward — or into — a more complex and full-grown form of something, be it a living thing, a technology or an idea.

menstruation: Monthly flow of blood from the uterus. It begins at puberty in girls and other female primates. People generally refer to each monthly episode as a woman’s “ period .”

mental health: A term for someone’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. It refers to how people behave on their own and how they interact with others. It includes how people make choices, handle stress and manage fear or anxiety. Poor mental health can be triggered by disease or merely reflect a short-term response to life’s challenges. It can occur in people of any age, from babies to the elderly.

muscle: A type of tissue used to produce movement by contracting its cells, known as muscle fibers. Muscle is rich in protein, which is why predatory species seek prey containing lots of this tissue.

nonbinary: Meaning “not one of two.” People who identify this way might feel they are both male and female, neither male nor female, or somewhere in between. Instead of he or she, nonbinary individuals may choose to go by the pronoun “they.”

out: (in gender issues) Someone who is open about their gender identity or sexual orientation with other people.

pediatrics: A field of medicine that has to do with children and especially child health. A doctor who works in this field is known as a pediatrician.

peer: (noun) Someone who is an equal, based on age, education, status, training or some other features. (verb) To look into something, searching for details.

perception: The state of being aware of something — or the process of becoming aware of something — through use of the senses.

politician: A person who runs for or holds elected office in a town or larger governing body. For politicians, governing people (or organizations) and wielding power within government is a profession (job).

psychiatrist: A medical doctor who spends many years learning to study and treat diseases of the human mind. Treatments may consist of talking therapies, prescription drugs or both. This medical field is known as psychiatry.

risk: The chance or mathematical likelihood that some bad thing might happen. For instance, exposure to radiation poses a risk of cancer. Or the hazard — or peril — itself. (For instance: Among cancer risks that the people faced were radiation and drinking water tainted with arsenic.)

self-harm: Intentionally injuring one’s body. Examples may include cutting, scratching or burning oneself. This unhealthy behavior is typically a way this individual attempts to cope with emotional pain. It’s usually not intended as a suicide attempt. Also known as self-injury.

sex: An animal’s biological status, typically male or female. There are a number of indicators of biological sex, including sex chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive organs, and external genitals. 

sexual orientation: A term that describes who you tend to be attracted to: other people of the opposite sex (straight), of the same sex (lesbian or gay), of both sexes (bisexual) or of neither sex (asexual).

sibling: An offspring that shares the same parents (with its brother or sister).

social: (adj.) Relating to gatherings of people; a term for animals (or people) that prefer to exist in groups.

sperm: A reproductive cell that contains half of the genetic information necessary to form a complete organism. In humans and in many other animals, testes produce sperm. When a sperm fuses with an egg, the two combine to produce a new cell, called a zygote. This is the first step in the development of a new organism.”

stigma: A disgrace, source of shame or a stain on one’s reputation — often not justifiably — due to something that one did, experienced or represents to others.

stress: (in biology) A factor — such as unusual temperatures, movements, moisture or pollution — that affects the health of a species or ecosystem. (in psychology) A mental, physical, emotional or behavioral reaction to an event or circumstance (stressor) that disturbs a person or animal’s usual state of being or places increased demands on a person or animal; psychological stress can be either positive or negative. (in physics) Pressure or tension exerted on a material object.

suicidal: A mental state in which a person feels a strong impulse to take his or her own life (also known as committing suicide). Warning signs may include talking about wanting to die or about making plans to commit suicide; saying goodbye to people as if this person won’t ever see them again; taking steps to make it possible to commit suicide, such as obtaining a gun or drugs that could cause death; being obsessed with the subject of death or dying; and withdrawing from social contact in a way that is unusual for that person.

survey: To view, examine, measure or evaluate something, often land or broad aspects of a landscape. (with people) To ask questions that glean data on the opinions, practices (such as dining or sleeping habits), knowledge or skills of a broad range of people. Researchers select the number and types of people questioned in hopes that the answers these individuals give will be representative of others who are their age, belong to the same ethnic group or live in the same region. (n.) The list of questions that will be offered to glean those data.

testosterone: Although known as a male sex hormone, females make this reproductive hormone as well (generally in smaller quantities). It gets its name from a combination of testis (the primary organ that makes it in males) and sterol, a term for some hormones. High concentrations of this hormone contribute to the greater size, musculature and aggressiveness typical of the males in many species (including humans).

therapy: (adj. therapeutic) Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.

transgender: An adjective for someone who has a gender identity that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Sex is usually assigned based on someone’s genitalia.

transition: (in gender studies) A term used to describe the process of permanently changing one’s outward gender in terms of name, behavior and expression to match one’s inner sense of his or her gender.

viable: Able to live and survive. (in biology) Able to survive and/or live a normal lifespan. (in engineering) Something that should work or operate according to plan, as in a “viable concept.”

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