A growing number of Australian children confused about sexuality are identifying as transgender as a way of "standing out," according to a Brisbane psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist Dr Stephen Stathis, who runs a gender clinic at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital said out of the 180 children with gender issues the clinic is expected to see, only a minority would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria — a strong, persistent feeling of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one's own assigned gender.
When speaking with the Courier Mail, Dr Stathis said he had noticed many adolescents adopting a "try out" mentality towards being transgender as a way to be different.
"One said to me, 'Dr Steve ... I want to be transgender, it's the new black'," Dr Stathis told the Courier Mail.
Dr Stathis said for the majority of the gender clinic's patients by the time they had reached puberty, most would identify as their birth gender.
Specific cases within the study of the clinic’s girl patients showed that some who had been sexually abused welcomed a transgender label.
"The girls say, 'If only I had been a male I wouldn't have been abused'," Dr Stathis said.
At the end of 2016, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital had a two year waiting list with 100 children wanting to be assessed at the transgender clinic.