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Screening for Gender Identity in Adolescent Well Visits: Is It Feasible and Acceptable?

This study aimed to pilot systematic gender identity screening during adolescent well checks and examine perceptions of feasibility and acceptability of screening from adolescents, parents/guardians, and clinicians. Adolescents aged 12-18 years with a well visit between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019 (n = 134,114; 817 pilot and 133,297 usual care) in Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) pediatric primary care clinics. “What is your gender?” was added to the previsit questionnaire in pilot clinics; all other KPNC clinics provided usual care. Additional anonymous surveys were administered to adolescents and parents/guardians in the pilot clinics and to all KPNC pediatric clinicians. Multivariable logistic regression examined associations between clinics and patients reporting as transgender and gender diverse (TGD). Descriptive statistics summarized patient, parent/guardian, and clinician perceptions of gender identity screening. Adjusting for age and race/ethnicity, adolescents had higher odds of reporting as TGD in pilot clinics than in usual care (odds ratio = 6.91, 95% confidence interval = 3.76-12.74). Two thirds of adolescents, 75.5% of parents/guardians, and 92.5% of clinicians felt it was important to screen for gender identity in primary care. Less than 2% of adolescents found the question confusing, offensive, or uncomfortable, and 2.8% of parents/guardians felt it was offensive. In addition, 36.4% of clinicians and 3.6% of parents/guardians were concerned it would affect visit workflow/time. Most adolescents, parents/guardians, and pediatric clinicians viewed systematic gender identity screening as both feasible and acceptable. Standardized gender identity screening during adolescent well checks could facilitate and increase identification of TGD adolescents and the delivery of gender-affirming care for adolescents and families in need.

Authors: Lau, Josephine S; Kline-Simon, Andrea; Sterling, Stacy; Hojilla, J Carlo; Hartman, Lauren

J Adolesc Health. 2021 06;68(6):1089-1095. Epub 2020-09-15.

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