This study aims to understand the process by which female-to-male transgender young people come to identify as transgender through in-depth interviews with 13 self-identified female-to-male transgender youth. A grounded theory was created of the process that young people go through in coming to identify as transgender. We identified three stages: (1) a growing sense of gender: school, puberty, sexuality and exposure to diverse gender options impact upon each young person’s sense of his own gender; (2) recognition of transgender identity: a young person experiences a growing sense of discomfort with his female birth gender and comes to recognise himself as transgender; and (3) social adjustment: after becoming aware of himself as transgender, a young person adapts to life as a male. Although individual experiences may vary, understanding the typical trajectory of the female-to-male transgender experience can help inform appropriate health care and support services.
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