Intimacy

Treatment of gender-identity disorders is guided by standards set forth by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Although not absolute, WPATH's eligibility criteria for hormone therapy and/or genital-reconstructive surgery include participation in psychotherapy. In addition, applicants for genital-reconstructive surgery are required to live at least one year full-time in the preferred gender role, a period referred to as the real-life experience (RLE).
Social stigmatization hinders the ability of gay adolescents to achieve the tasks of adolescence. Because their sexual identity is denigrated by society, these youth have difficulty forming a positive identity and establishing healthy peer and intimate relationships. Family relations are often painful, and gay adolescents are susceptible to loneliness, isolation, depression, and suicide. Validation of these adolescents' affectional and erotic feelings helps to normalize their adolescence, as does providing' them with a peer group of other gay youth.