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Wed, Mar 13

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Bowerman room

Doug VanderLaan

Invisible: How oversight undermines the psychological and brain health of transgender and gender-diverse children and youth

Doug VanderLaan
Doug VanderLaan

Time & Location

Mar 13, 2024, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Bowerman room , Dobell Pavilion, 6875 Bd LaSalle, Verdun, QC H4H 2G9, Canada

About the Event

Despite unprecedented societal and scientific interest in the healthcare needs of transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) children and youth, the psychological and brain health of this population is undermined by various oversights. This presentation sheds light on these failings, which include a lack of visibility of TGD children, the need to go beyond clinic-based approaches to promoting well-being, and inequities in access to transgender healthcare in Canada and globally. Additionally, gender-affirming hormone (GAH) use in the context of transgender youth has become hotly debated. Yet, evidence to inform this debate is limited. Regarding brain health, little is known about differences in brain organization among TGD youth and the implications for possible effects of GAH use on brain maturation. Globally, there has been little attention to self-administered GAH use as is seen among transgender persons in countries such as Thailand where transgender healthcare access is significantly more limited. Emerging insights regarding transgender brain development, including in relation to endogenous hormones and GAH use, will be discussed. Collectively, these studies point to a need for macro-level changes to address systemic barriers as well as important areas of future research to improve interventions aimed at promoting transgender and gender-diverse children and youth’s well-being.

Doug is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Toronto Mississauga, and a Collaborator Scientist in Child and Youth Psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. He completed his PhD at University of Lethbridge, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at CAMH. As Director of the BIG (Biopsychosocial Investigations of Gender) Lab at University of Toronto Mississauga, Doug uses a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to increase our understanding of gender expression and identity development, sexual orientation, sexual desire, and psychological functioning. 

* To register for remote access, follow this link : Zoom registration 

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