The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
Journal of Adolescent Health
Adolescent and young adult (AYA) health care providers (HCPs) frequently serve sexual and gender-diverse (SGD) youth. Sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender(s) to which they are attracted. Gender-diverse, sometimes addressed as gender-expansive, persons are a subset of the population whose gender identity, expressions, or behaviors differ from those typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth in the society in which they live. These constructs may develop separately, and terminology should acknowledge and include the broad range of SGD identities that exist. Although many SGD AYAs navigate the adolescent transition successfully and become healthy, happy, successful adults, the pervasive discrimination, stigma, bias, and disparities they face throughout society place many at risk for poor health and developmental outcomes. The resilience and risk profiles of these youth are further compounded by the intersectionality of the person’s unique identities, including, but not limited to, race/ethnicity, religion, and language. Support for SGD AYAs is critical at all levels. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) encourages HCPs who care for AYAs and researchers to incorporate the impact of these developmental processes (and understand the consequences of concurrent potential discrimination) when working with SGD adolescents. SAHM also encourages HCPs to advocate for improved policy related to sexual and gender diversity within families, schools, the foster care system, and the juvenile justice system. Consistent with other professional organizations, SAHM rejects the mistaken notion that SGD identities are mental disorders and opposes the use of any type of reparative therapy for SGD adolescents.