JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Characteristics of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria referred to the Hamburg Gender Identity Clinic].

Given the increasing demand for counselling in gender dysphoria in childhood in Germany, there is a definite need for empirical data on characteristics and developmental trajectories of this clinical group. This study aimed to provide a first overview by assessing demographic characteristics and developmental trajectories of a group of gender variant boys and girls referred to the specialised Gender Identity Clinic in Hamburg. Data were extracted from medical charts, transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis methods. Categories were set up by inductive-deductive reasoning based on the patients' parents' and clinicians' information in the files. Between 2006 and 2010, 45 gender variant children and adolescents were seen by clinicians; 88.9% (n = 40) of these were diagnosed with gender identity disorder (ICD-10). Within this group, the referral rates for girls were higher than for boys (1:1.5). Gender dysphoric girls were on average older than the boys and a higher percentage of girls was referred to the clinic at the beginning of adolescence (> 12 years of age). At the same time, more girls reported an early onset age. More girls made statements about their (same-sex) sexual orientation during adolescence and wishes for gender confirming medical interventions. More girls than boys revealed self-mutilation in the past or present as well as suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. Results indicate that the presentation of clinically referred gender dysphoric girls differs from the characteristics boys present in Germany; especially with respect to the most salient age differences. Therefore, these two groups require different awareness and individual treatment approaches.

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