As a student health professional, and a health care professional in general, it is one’s duty to show compassion and understanding for students who seek care. This can be especially true when providing support and treatment to individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria.
Gender dysphoria occurs in individuals who experience a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. Since the transgender segment of the college student population is growing, and it is often during the college years that individuals begin the transition process, it is more important now than ever that, as college health professionals, we take a deeper look into their physical and behavioral health needs and how we can work together to tailor college health programs to be a helpful and compassionate resource.
According to a 2016 article from the New York Times, data collected from federal and state agencies estimated there are 1.4 million adults who identify as transgender. The total number of transgender individuals in the United States is likely much higher, considering this number does not include children and those who have not reported their gender identity. The data also shows that 18 to 24-year olds were more likely to identify as transgender – the age range of a traditional college student. And that number is growing.
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