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Gender identity development service (GIDS)


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Children, Young people

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What we do

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is for children and young people, and their families, who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity. It’s a national specialised service, based in London and Leeds, and is the only one of its kind in Great Britain.

Many, but by no means all, of the children and young people who we see are unhappy with aspects of their body’s primary or secondary sex characteristics.

Some children who were assigned male (i.e. registered as male) when they were born, may not feel like a boy when they are older, or may prefer to dress in clothes or play with toys that other people say are “for girls”. They may feel or say that they are a girl. In the same way, some children or young people who were assigned ‘female’ at birth might feel or say that they are a boy. Others might say that neither “boy” nor “girl”  seems the right word for how they feel about themselves. 

We recognise how complex ideas around gender can be and that there is a huge range of human diversity in how people feel about and express their gender. Young people who are developing an understanding of their own gender that is different from what everyone had first expected can sometimes find things very tough. Both young people and their families can experience high levels of distress as their gender identity evolves.

We try to help young people and their families cope with distress, and to reduce it. We aim to understand the obstacles standing between young people and the development of a more settled and confident gender identity, and to try and minimise any negative influences from these obstacles.

We also work with a small number of children who have a trans parent, and whose difficulties are related to their experience of their parent’s gender identity or transition.