Recent research from the Center for Gender Surgery

graphic illustration of transgender flag
New research findings promise to advance our understanding of gender-related issues. (Adobe Stock)

The Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital offers a full suite of surgical options for eligible patients ready to take this step in their gender journey. A pair of recent studies by the center’s staff promise to further increase our understanding of transgender health.

New system helps identify transmasculine patients’ surgical priorities

Transmasculine patients who are considering gender affirmation surgery on their genitals (“bottom surgery”) have different goals for surgery. However, no standardized presurgical assessment tool had been created for this population. To better identify patients’ expectations for surgery, the Center for Gender Surgery’s team developed a scale meant to facilitate discussion about patient concerns, called the Genital Affirmation Surgical Priorities Scale (GASPS).

After using the scale with 63 transmasculine patients, the researchers found that while patients were most consistently concerned about being able to stand to urinate, their goals varied strongly from person to person. The results also stressed the importance of goal assessment and the utility of having a standardized measure that asks about specific areas where priorities have been shown to vary. The study was published in the October 25, 2019 issue of Transgender Health.

Women’s college admission policies differ on trans students

The history of support and acceptance for women as a socially marginalized group has made women’s colleges appealing to binary and non-binary transgender adolescents who are transitioning into adulthood. However, this perception may be misguided, according to a recent study by Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, and Oren Ganor, MD, published in the November 1, 2019, issue of the Journal of LGBT Youth. They obtained admission and graduation policies for 33 of the 34 women’s colleges in the U.S.

They found that support for transgender students varied widely. Some schools required transgender women to have undergone surgery and changed their gender on all legal documents to apply for admission, where others just required them to have a female gender identity. Transgender men could apply to six schools without limitations and five under limited circumstances. Seven schools required men who transitioned after admission to leave the college or transfer to a coed program. Non-religious schools, as well as those with public-facing gender policies and those located in the Northeast, were significantly less likely to restrict access to transgender students.

“We started this project because we were worried about how access to gender surgery might affect college admission,” Boskey states. “However, what ended up surprising us the most was how gender transition had the potential to cause problems for college students who were already enrolled.”

Learn about the Center for Gender Surgery.

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