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Gender affirmation is the process of recognizing and acknowledging the identified gender of a transgender person. It occurs in four key domains: social, psychological, medical, and legal.
It’s important for the health and well-being of transgender individuals to participate in gender affirmation and have this process supported by all the people they’re in contact with, including friends and family members, employers and colleagues, medical practitioners, and other members of the community.
Gender affirmation is sometimes called sex affirmation.
All transgender people should go through a process of gender affirmation for their mental health and well-being. This process concerns the way transgender people present themselves socially. They may adopt a new name typical of the identifying gender, start using different personal pronouns, and change the way they dress and behave. They may notice they feel differently within themselves. In some cases, these changes might inspire transgender people to seek counseling.
There may also be medical and legal components to a transgender person’s gender affirmation process. Transgender individuals may seek hormone treatments or surgery to change their bodies. They may also ask health professionals about reproductive options. Legal steps may also be taken during the gender affirmation process, like changing their name and gender marker legally.
There are several ways people in contract with transgender people can support the gender affirmation process. These include using transgender people’s preferred pronouns when addressing them, supporting their access to transgender services, and interacting with them without judgment.