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Gender Affirming Care

Gender dysphoria is psychological distress that results when a person feels a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.

What is gender-affirming care?

Gender-affirming care is medical and psychosocial health care that is patient-centered and treats individuals holistically. It is supportive care designed to affirm the individual’s gender identity. It includes a range of social, psychological, behavioral, physical, and medical interventions and non-medical services for transgender and nonbinary individuals. Research show that gender-affirming care improves mental health, social and overall wellbeing and increases positive outcomes. Gender-affirming care is a medical necessity. The interventions also provide a continuum of care from counseling to changes in social expression to medications.

What is the goal of gender – affirming care?

The goal of gender-affirming care is to align the outward physical traits with the patient’s gender identify. Dr. Poulakos offers a safe space for to express your emotions, ask questions, and raise concerns. He can help you build a life that conforms with you gender identity. A life worth living. Studies report that this fosters better outcomes such as lowering rates of mental health disorders, building self-esteem and improving the individual’s quality of life.

Why does gender-affirming care matter?

Research shows that transgender and nonbinary populations of all ages disproportionately experience more instances of mental health and substance use disorders, suicidality and poor wellbeing compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 52% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year. These problems are due to high levels of social rejection lack of parental support, bullying, stigma, and discrimination. Gender affirming care reduces the odds of depression and suicidality over a year. Gender-affirming care saves lives.

What does gender affirming care include?

Not every transgender or nonbinary person will desire all these affirmations. It is a personal decision.  Treatment may include:

  • General mental health issues which may or may not be related to gender identity including mood disorders, general anxiety, substance abuse and post – traumatic stress disorder.
  • Social affirmation includes changing one’s name, pronouns and outward appearance with reversible procedures such as hair removal
  • Medical affirmation with puberty blockers, hormone therapy
  • Surgical affirmation including gender-affirming procedures that surgically confirm a person’s gender by altering physical features to align with their desired gender identity.

Dr. Paul Poulakos is a culturally and medically competent psychiatrist who can care for you in an environment where you feel safe. Together we can explore your identity, stress, provide counseling about coming out as transgender to your family and your peers, sexual activity, and potential transition toward a different gender identity. Contact him in his New York City office to schedule a consultation and discover the opportunities that gender affirming care can provide.

At a Glance

Dr. Paul Poulakos

  • Attending Psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Past Clinical Assistant Professor of NYU Langone Medical Center
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