Homehealth & wellbeingpuberty & your bodywhat is puberty like for a trans, non-binary, intersex and/or gender diverse person?

What is puberty like for a trans, non-binary, intersex and/or gender diverse person?

Puberty can be a pretty tricky time, full of change and exciting developments. Learn about what it’s like for someone who is trans, non-binary, intersex and/or gender diverse.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity means feeling: 

  • masculine
  • feminine
  • both masculine and feminine
  • or something beyond the gender binary

Your gender identity may or may not match your body. For example: 

  • A person born with female anatomy who sees themselves as a girl, is known as cisgender
  • A person born with a penis, who identifies as a girl, may consider themselves to be transgender.
  • A person born with a vagina, who identifies as a boy, may also consider themselves to be transgender.
  • Non-binary people can feel like they are a mix of genders, or like they have no gender at all. It can also change over time. Every non-binary person is different, and remember that each non-binary person’s way of relating to gender is valid!
  • Intersex people have genitals, hormones, and physical characteristics that don’t fit into the outdated idea that there are only two sexes (‘male’ and ‘female’). Intersex people can be any gender identity, and this is for each intersex person to decide. 

Learn more: read ‘What are pronouns?’ to learn about the relationship between our gender identity and the pronouns we decide to use. 

What is gender dysphoria?

Puberty is a pretty difficult and confusing time for a lot of people, as there are so many changes going on with their bodies. For trans, intersex, non-binary and other gender diverse folk, they may feel especially anxious when their bodies start to change in ways that don’t reflect their gender identity.

If you look in the mirror and what you see doesn’t fit in with how you feel inside, you’re probably experiencing gender dysphoria. 

Everyone deserves to feel at home in their own body, and that there are many steps we can take to alleviate gender dysphoria.

Check out this video to learn more about gender dysphoria:

What are puberty blockers? 

If you or someone you know is experiencing gender dysphoria, you might be interested in puberty blockers. Puberty blockers basically stop your body from developing things like breasts or an Adam’s apple, so you have more time to figure out how you want your body to develop throughout puberty.

Puberty blockers are most effective for people in the early stages of puberty, and are often the first step for young people wanting to access hormonal affirmation (which means receiving hormones so your physical appearance aligns with your gender).

In Australia, the first step to getting puberty blockers is visiting a doctor, so you can get a referral to see a psychiatrist or someone who specialises in gender therapy. Once you get psychiatrist approval, parental consent, and see an endocrinologist (a health expert who specialises in hormones) you can start taking puberty blockers. 

Learn more: Check out this great directory which can help you find a LGBTQIA+ friendly health clinic near you. 

Alleviating gender dysphoria 

When you know your true gender, there are many actions you can take to live life as your authentically gendered self. This process is called ‘gender affirmation’, and includes things like using your chosen name and pronouns, updating your passport, and taking hormones. Learn more about gender affirmation here!

Tips for starting your gender affirmation journey

Not quite ready to do stuff like change your name or take hormones? Here are some simple tips to start your gender affirmation journey. Test and see what works best for you. We’re all different, and you have the right to express your gender your own way.

Changing up your hair

Getting an affirming haircut is a simple but super effective way to feel more like you! This also goes for body hair — like shaving or changing up your grooming habits.

Gendered products

Have you been eying that GQ Magazine or thinking about getting that women’s shampoo? Getting gendered products for yourself can be a super affirming experience.

Personal Style

What you wear is another big one! Try experimenting with clothes and have fun with it — fashion is a great way to express our gender identity and who we are more generally!


Some people like exercising and working out to help achieve the body they feel most comfortable with. Plus, exercise is great for getting those endorphins going! 

Surrounding yourself with supportive and affirming people

This is super important, but it’s important to acknowledge that for some it might not be safe to come out or talk about stuff like gender dysphoria with certain people. Find the friends, family, and people in your community that support and affirm your gender identity. 

These tips are inspired by a great article from Minus 18.

Check out this video for more info on puberty for trans, non-binary, intersex, and gender diverse folk:

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is struggling with their gender identity during puberty, there are places you can go to for support. 

  • Check out this great directory which can help you find a LGBTQIA+ friendly health clinic near you. 
  • If you want to chat with someone about your gender or sexuality, free and confidential support is available for all LGBTQIA+ folk through Rainbow Door and QLife
  • If your emotions feel like they’re becoming an issue, it might be a good idea to chat to a doctor, an adult you trust or a counsellor – read more here. If you need to speak to someone urgently, you can call Kids Help Line or Lifeline.

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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