Understanding gender identity: What it means for teens coming out and their parents

Posted at 10:35 PM, Nov 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 14:11:07-05

New York City is home to the largest LGBTQ youth population in the country.

More and more teens and young adults now identify as non-binary and gender non-conforming, but many — especially parents — don't really understand what that means.

Vanessa Mckenna, 19, was named John at birth. She came out as a transgender woman last year and began her transition this summer.

Louie McDonnel has a similar story.

"When I was younger, I was always playing stereotypical boy sports, but I always felt something was off," McDonnel said. "I realized I was transgender and came out to my parents when I was 18."

Their decisions to come out came with consequences.

"Everywhere I go people are going to stare at me," Mckenna said.

Dr. John Steever, from the Adolescent Health Clinic at Mount Sinai, has treated nearly 600 gender non-conforming patients, same as young as eight.

"My goal is to help them achieve the perfect alignment between body and mind," Dr. Steever said.

PIX11's Dan Mannarino has more in the video above.

Resources are available below:

LGBTQ resources:

Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Clinic Services:

Jodie Powell: mother, activist and author of "The Bold World:"

Michelle Hope at MHSEXPERT: