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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of gender identity in young people

It's normal for children to explore ways of expressing their gender. Some children are aware of their gender identity from an early age. Others may take time to figure it out. It's important for parents, guardians, and whānau/family to allow their children and young people to explore their identity. It's also important to make sure they feel loved and accepted as they develop.

If your child is exploring their gender identity or tells you they're a different gender than the one you expected, it's normal to feel confused. It's also normal to have mixed feelings. Take time to listen to your child and learn. Reach out for support and look after yourself. Learn as much as you can so you can best support your child.

See Resources for families for advice for whānau/families of children who are exploring their gender or identify as gender diverse. The resources include practical ways to support your child and tips for talking to schools or family members.

See the Ministry of Health advice on how to support your child. This page includes information on puberty blockers.

The resources below can help you explore concepts of gender identity and gender expression with your children and young people. They can also help you discuss them with family and friends.

Your child and your family are not alone. There's a lot of support. See Support networks for groups and organisations that can connect you to other families and help you and your child.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by Ko Awatea gender-affirming care co-design group. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created May 2019. Last updated October 2019.


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Page reference: 615620

Review key: HISOG-53214