Gender and Sexuality Development Program
Contact Number | 202-476-5980
As children grow, they may feel that they identify more with the opposite gender than the one they were assigned at birth. They may behave and dress in ways typical of the opposite gender (gender-variant behaviors), which may be confusing to parents and others.
Why Choose Us
At Children’s National Health System, we believe these children have the best chance of being happy and developing into healthy, productive adults if they are given support and understanding. Our Gender and Sexuality Development Program (GSDP) does just that. We help children and their families learn ways to cope with the confusion and social pressures that can occur with these variations.
- Comprehensive services and collaboration with multiple specialties. From psychological and psychiatric evaluations and support to specialists in medical treatments such as Veronica Gomez-Lobo, M.D., a pediatric gynecologist who provides medical interventions such as puberty suppression or hormone therapy, the GSD Program offers a full spectrum of care options based on the needs of each patient.
- Personalized evaluations and tailored care. This includes a full evaluation of your child’s gender and sexuality development and mental health. Throughout treatment, your child will receive care tailored to his or her unique needs, in coordination with any existing medical or mental health professionals your child already sees to ensure continuity and consistency of care.
- Unique programs for special needs. Children and teens who have both autism spectrum disorder and gender dysphoria, for example, have access to a support group designed specifically for them, led by John Strang, Psy.D. Many providers refer patients to our program to access these services, which may not be offered elsewhere.
Conditions We Treat
At Children’s National, we tailor counseling and support to each patient’s individual needs. In the GSDP, we counsel children and their families on issues including:
- Gender-variant behaviors. Behaviors considered not in agreement with generally accepted gender roles.
- Sexual identity issues. Also sometimes called sexual orientation, it concerns which sex a person feels sexually attracted to. That may be the same sex, the opposite sex or both. People may refer to themselves as gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual or another term. Those who are “questioning” are unsure of their sexual orientation.
- Gender identity issues. A person’s sense of being male, female, gender neutral or another identity, regardless of their physical gender at birth.
- Intersex conditions. These conditions involve variations in sexual anatomy that are present at birth. This includes both internal reproductive organs and external genitalia. We offer counsel on the personal and social aspects of these disorders of sex development (DSD).
You can learn more about these issues in the our guide for parents (PDF). This guide also is available in Spanish (PDF).
Evaluation and Follow-Up
Your child’s care will start with an evaluation by our team. During this two-hour visit, you will meet the team together with your child and also separately. The goals of these visits vary from family to family. They can include:
- Understanding the various aspects of your child’s gender and sexuality development
- Finding any mental health problems
- Helping with positive parenting skills
- Helping you and your child deal with siblings, friends, schools and other groups
We may ask you and your child to return for periodic follow-up visits. These visits can help us make a more extended evaluation. Your team also may suggest treatments or supportive services through Children’s National or in the community such as:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- School interventions
- Support groups for you and/or your child
Recognized for Excellence
Our colleagues and peers have recognized the important care our Children’s Gender and Sexuality Program provides. Our advocacy and education efforts have been honored with the following national awards recognizing our commitment to providing compassionate, patient- and family-centered care:
For more information or to make an appointment, please contact us at 202-476-5980.
Gender and Sexuality Development Program Team
In This Section:
Learn how to contact the Gender and Sexuality Development Program.
We see children from around the Washington, DC, metropolitan region, nation, and world who need the specialized expertise and child-focused care we offer.
Pediatric specialists work closely to ensure an integrated approach to caring for each child and family.
We offer resources for families to help answer questions and ease their experience.
We value the network of referring physicians and staff and offers resources for medical education and referring patients.