In this section
The Royal Children's Hospital Gender Service aims
to improve the physical and mental health outcomes of children and adolescents
who are trans or gender diverse. Being trans or gender diverse is seen as part
of the natural spectrum of human diversity.
Some trans or gender diverse children and
adolescents experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a medical term
that refers to the distress that a person may experience when there is an
incongruence between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth.
Transgender and gender diverse children and adolescents have considerably
higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and attempted suicide compared
to their cis-gender peers. This is due to their experiences of stigma,
discrimination, social exclusion, bullying and harassment. Increasing evidence demonstrates that with supportive,
gender affirming care during childhood and adolescence, harms can be
ameliorated and mental health and wellbeing outcomes can be significantly
Service is a Victorian statewide service. Unfortunately the Service is unable
to accept referrals from interstate.
mental health service State Government website provides contact details for Victoria's regionalised mental health services and the suburbs and regions they cover.
accept new referrals from across Victoria for any child or adolescent up to the
age of 17 years with concerns regarding their gender identity. A referral from
a General Practitioner (GP) to the Gender Service is required.
can be made to the Gender Service using the interactive
Referral form which should then be faxed to (03) 9345 5034.
Once a referral has been
received by the hospital you will get a phone SMS from the hospital confirming
this. All new referrals will receive an appointment in the mail outlining the
details of the first appointment.
The RCH Gender Service see children and adolescents for a new assessment up to their 17thbirthday. Adolescents who are 17 years or over may be eligible to access adult services:
Monash Medical Centre Gender Clinic
For people aged 17+
Phone: 03 9556 5216 Fax: 03 9556 5256
The Gender Service Clinical Nurse Consultant can be contacted on (03) 9345 4719.
The Gender Service administration coordinator can be contacted on (03) 9345 5890
Specialist clinics can be contacted via switchboard on (03) 9345 6180 - specifically ask for Desk D
Once a referral has been received by the Gender Service you will be sent an appointment in the mail.
When an appointment for your assessment becomes available you will be contacted by our Administration Coordinator to confirm details.
The initial consultation for children 8 years and under will entail a review by a psychologist or child psychiatrist. They may be referred later to a paediatrician who specialises in adolescent medicine and gender diversity if required.
initial consultation for children over 8 years and adolescents up to their 17th
birthday will involve an assessment with the Gender
Service clinical nurse consultant or one of our adolescent medicine fellows.
initial assessment will allow the Gender Service team to provide you and your
child or adolescent with information regarding the service and relevant
supports that are available both within the Royal Children’s Hospital and
through external groups and community organisations.
provided by the Gender Service involves development of a comprehensive
management plan made in collaboration with the child or adolescent and their
your initial assessment you will be offered four appointments with a child and
adolescent clinical psychologist or psychiatrist and then a paediatrician both
whom specialise in gender identity.
For pre-pubertal gender
diverse children, assistance is provided to develop gender affirming environments
both at home and at school. Once puberty starts, options for medical treatment
are divided into two stages:
Puberty blockers – prescribed by a paediatrician or paediatric endocrinologist.
Puberty blockers suppress the development of secondary sex
characteristics whilst providing time for cognitive and emotional development.
As they are reversible in their effects, should an adolescent wish to stop taking
them at any time, puberty will resume in the biological sex.
Gender affirming hormones (oestrogen or testosterone) – prescribed by paediatrician or paediatric endocrinologist.
affirming hormones initiate puberty in the affirmed gender and may be commenced
around the age of 15 to 16 years. A transgender female would be commenced on
oestrogen and a transgender male would start testosterone. These are only
partially reversible in their effects. In Australia, this stage of treatment
requires Family Court approval for adolescents under the age of 18 years. (See
Navigating the stage 2 process in the Education, sport and other information links)
The RCH Gender Service provides care that is consistent with the Australian
Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for Trans and Gender Diverse
Children and Adolescents (2017).
Research into gender dysphoria has been increasing over the past 10 years however, further evaluation and research is required to maximise treatment outcomes. To provide great care to children and adolescents with gender diverse or experience gender
dysphoria, the RCH Gender Service is undertaking research and evaluation to better understand gender concerns in children and adolescents. There are currently three research and evaluation projects underway:
This project explores the way that patients and parents experience the service. We will then use this feedback to improve our service for patients and their families.
We are undertaking an evaluation of the service to explore whether it is having a positive impact. This evaluation will involve collecting information about the health and wellbeing of patients (and parents) when they are first seen at the service and then at regular follow up periods. This information will help us understand the health care needs of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria. We will then be able to see how these needs change over time.
We are also interested in how gender dysphoria affects parents. This project explores how raising a child with gender dysphoria is related to parent wellbeing, and the types of support that parents may want to access.
These three projects will help to improve our care for RCH patients and their families. We hope that these projects will improve our understanding of gender dysphoria and gender diversity in children and adolescents. We plan to build our research and evaluation activities in the future to expand our knowledge of gender in children and young people.