The National Center for Gender Spectrum Health is a new initiative of the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality. We seek to promote the wellbeing of all patients across the gender spectrum (including those who are cisgender, transgender, and gender diverse) through a multi-layered approach focused on building positive gender identity and resiliency, developing gender literacy, deconstructing gender binaries, and promoting sex-positive pleasure-based sexual health.
Clinically, the Center has developed a set of innovative practices tailored specifically to address issues across the entire lifespan; children, adolescents, young adults, adults and older adults, known as the ‘Gender Affirmative Lifespan Approach’. Based in theory and research showing stigma and discrimination contribute to negative health outcomes for transgender and gender diverse people, our Gender Affirmative Lifespan Approach is aimed at countering the internalization of this stigma and improving mental health outcomes by increasing gender literacy, building resiliency, moving beyond the gender binary, connections to medical care, and promoting positive sexuality.
Pushing ourselves to move forward and outward, to challenge old defunct models of transgender health care, and to be truly innovative means we must look at the gender binary and the systems that reinforce stigma and perpetuate adherence to a gender system that privileges conformity and punishes the natural existence of a diverse spectrum of gender expressions and identities. The National Center for Gender Spectrum Health will push the existing dialogue within health care systems to affirm all gender identities and to support gender health across the lifespan for everyone.