The Process of Gender Affirmation May Include ≥1 of the Following Components

ComponentDefinitionGeneral Age RangeaReversibilitya
Social affirmationAdopting gender-affirming hairstyles, clothing, name, gender pronouns, and restrooms and other facilitiesAnyReversible
Puberty blockersGonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues, such as leuprolide and histrelinDuring puberty (Tanner stage 2–5)bReversiblec
Cross-sex hormone therapyTestosterone (for those who were assigned female at birth and are masculinizing); estrogen plus androgen inhibitor (for those who were assigned male at birth and are feminizing)Early adolescence onwardPartially reversible (skin texture, muscle mass, and fat deposition); irreversible once developed (testosterone: Adam’s apple protrusion, voice changes, and male pattern baldness; estrogen: breast development); unknown reversibility (effect on fertility)
Gender-affirming surgeries“Top” surgery (to create a male-typical chest shape or enhance breasts); “bottom” surgery (surgery on genitals or reproductive organs); facial feminization and other proceduresTypically adults (adolescents on case-by-case basisd)Not reversible
Legal affirmationChanging gender and name recorded on birth certificate, school records, and other documentsAnyReversible
  • a Note that the provided age range and reversibility is based on the little data that are currently available.

  • b There is limited benefit to starting gonadotropin-releasing hormone after Tanner stage 5 for pubertal suppression. However, when cross-sex hormones are initiated with a gradually increasing schedule, the initial levels are often not high enough to suppress endogenous sex hormone secretion. Therefore, gonadotropin-releasing hormone may be continued in accordance with the Endocrine Society Guidelines.68

  • c The effect of sustained puberty suppression on fertility is unknown. Pubertal suppression can be, and often is indicated to be, followed by cross-sex hormone treatment. However, when cross-sex hormones are initiated without endogenous hormones, then fertility may be decreased.68

  • d Eligibility criteria for gender-affirmative surgical interventions among adolescents are not clearly defined between established protocols and practice. When applicable, eligibility is usually determined on a case-by-case basis with the adolescent and the family along with input from medical, mental health, and surgical providers.6871