TPC-Journal-Vol 11-Issue-4

440 Charles F. Shepard, Darius A. Green, Karli M. Fleitas, Debbie C. Sturm Informing Consent: A Grounded Theory Study of Parents of Transgender and GenderDiverse Youth Seeking Gender-Confirming Endocrinological Interventions This qualitative grounded theory study is the first of its kind aimed at understanding the decision-making process of parents and guardians of transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) youth providing informed consent for their children to undergo gender-confirming endocrinological interventions (GCEI), such as hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers. Using primarily intensive interviews supported by observational field notes and document review, this study examined the decision-making processes of a national sample of participants who identified as a parent or legal guardian of at least one TGD youth and who have given informed consent for the youth in their care to undergo GCEI. A variety of inhibiting and contributing factors were illuminated as well as a “dissonance-to-consonance” model that participants used to combine contributing factors to overcome inhibitors and grant informed consent. Implications for professional counseling practitioners are discussed, including guidance for direct services, gatekeeping, case management, and advocacy functions. Keywords: transgender, gender-diverse, youth, decision-making, intervention One of the more controversial topics currently addressed in professional counseling involves gender identity and access for gender-confirming interventions for transgender or otherwise genderdiverse (TGD) youth. Since academic journals began publishing studies of the experiences of people expressing what today could be considered gender expansiveness in the late 19th century (Drescher, 2010), there has been considerable struggle in Western culture to understand the constructs of gender identity and expression and the implications that these aspects of human development present for mental and physical health. In the United States, controversy around pathologizing TGD identity or normalizing and affirming it has influenced popular and professional opinions since the early 20th century (Drescher, 2010; Stryker, 2008). Within the past decade, TGD identity has been associated with pervasive patterns of mistreatment and discrimination across social, educational, occupational, legal, and health care experiences in the United States (James et al., 2016). Transgender Health Care in the United States TGD people have been shown to be overrepresented in populations associated with negative mental, physical, and social health outcomes, such as those suffering from suicidality and homelessness (James et al., 2016). Among transgender older adolescents and young adults, 25% to 32% have reported attempting suicide (Grossman & D’Augelli, 2007), while the national rate for attempted suicide is 4.6% (James et al., 2016). According to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Homeless Youth Survey (Durso & Gates, 2012), LGBT youth comprised 40% of The Professional Counselor™ Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 440–458 © 2021 NBCC, Inc. and Affiliates doi: 10.15241/cfs.11.4.440 Charles F. Shepard, PhD, NCC, LPC, is a visiting faculty member at James Madison University. Darius A. Green, PhD, NCC, is the PASS Program Assistant Coordinator at James Madison University. Karli M. Fleitas, MA, is a doctoral student at James Madison University. Debbie C. Sturm, PhD, LPC, is a professor at James Madison University. Correspondence may be addressed to Charles F. Shepard, MSC 7704, James Madison University, 91 E. Grace Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22807,