#20: What about Ze? How does body positivity work for our transgender and gender nonconforming children?

with Carly Guss, MD, MPH and Sabra L. Katz-Wise, PhD

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In this episode we discuss…

  • the work dr. guss and dr. katz-wise each do with transgender and gender nonconforming youth

  • important distinctions between sex and gender, gender identity and gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation, transgender and cisgender, and binary and nonbinary gender identities

  • the process of gender transition (including social, medical, and legal transitions)

  • health inequities between transgender people and their cisgender peers

  • dr. guss and dr. katz-wise’s research on increased risk for disordered eating for transgender adolescents

  • the concept of minority stress and how it impacts disordered eating

  • the relationship that can exist between disordered eating and a desire for gender affirmation

  • why puberty is a risky period for development of disordered eating in this population

  • how parents can be supportive of children exploring their gender identity

  • finding a gender affirming clinician and other resources for parents

  • why the term “body positivity” and other language in eating disorder treatment is not inclusive for transgender or gender nonconforming people

  • the meaning of body neutrality

  • our guests’ answers to the million dollar question

  • Resources mentioned: glma’s lgbtq friendly provider directory, pflag, gender spectrum

Physician Dr. Carly Guss and researcher Dr. Sabra Katz-Wise join us for a conversation about the unique risks for disordered eating and body image concerns faced by transgender and gender nonconforming youth. We also discuss the importance of reframing body positivity as body neutrality in this context.

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dr. Carly Guss is an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and in the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine and Division of Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She received her BA in History from Yale University, her master’s in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health, and her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and her fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She sees patients in the Gender Management Services Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, which is a multi-disciplinary gender clinic, as well as in the Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine clinic, where she provides primary care and specialty care for adolescents, including caring for patients with eating disorders.  Her research interests include transgender and gender nonconforming adolescents’ experiences in primary care as well as the relationship of gender identity and body image.

dr. Sabra L. Katz-Wise is an Assistant Professor in Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and an Instructor in Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She is trained in developmental psychology, gender and women’s studies, and social epidemiology. Her research investigates sexual orientation and gender identity development, sexual fluidity, health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identity in adolescents and young adults, and psychosocial functioning in families with transgender youth. She is currently working on an NIH-funded community-based longitudinal mixed-methods study to examine how the family environment affects the health and well-being of transgender youth.  In addition to research, Dr. Katz-Wise is involved with advocacy efforts at Boston Children’s Hospital to improve the workplace climate and patient care for LGBTQ individuals. She also serves on the Harvard Medical School LGBT Advisory Committee and she co-founded and co-facilitates the Alliance of Gender Affirming Professionals (AGAP), a group for professionals and trainees in greater Boston who work with transgender youth and families.    

Connect with Dr. Katz-Wise and Dr. Guss.

Jordan Best