Background: Increasing numbers of adolescents present in adolescent gender identity services, desiring sex reassignment (SR). The aim of this study is to describe the adolescent applicants for legal and medical sex reassignment during the first two years of adolescent gender identity team in Finland, in terms of sociodemographic, psychiatric and gender identity related factors and adolescent development.
Methods: Structured quantitative retrospective chart review and qualitative analysis of case files of all adolescent SR applicants who entered the assessment by the end of 2013.
Results: The number of referrals exceeded expectations in light of epidemiological knowledge. Natal girls were markedly overrepresented among applicants. Severe psychopathology preceding onset of gender dysphoria was common. Autism spectrum problems were very common.
Conclusion: The findings do not fit the commonly accepted image of a gender dysphoric minor. Treatment guidelines need to consider gender dysphoria in minors in the context of severe psychopathology and developmental difficulties.
Keywords: Adolescent development; Gender dysphoria; Sex reassignment; Transsexualism.