DSD and DG

The Genere, Identità e Cultura Foundation has established a collaboration with the University of Naples “Federico II” and, in particular, with the Clinical Psychology and Applied Psychoanalysis Unit, to offer psychological support to children and adolescents with Sexual Differentiation Disorders and their families.


Sexual Differentiation Disorders (DSD) are congenital conditions determined by certain inconsistencies in one or more levels of sexual differentiation (chromosomal, gonadal or genital) and for this reason, the medical specialist in charge of them is the paediatric endocrinologist.


The incidence of these conditions in the population has been estimated at 1 in 4,500 new births.  Some of these conditions involve genital atypia which, in some cases, make it difficult to recognise sex at birth; it is therefore necessary to make a diagnosis as quickly as possible so that a gender can be attributed to the child. However, the health team is not always adequately trained to recognise these conditions and this can lead to inaccurate and sometimes erroneous diagnoses, which can lead to numerous problems that can affect different plans.


The need to investigate these aspects in depth and to define more suitable ways of communicating the diagnosis led in 2007 to the idea of a collaboration between the Paediatric Endocrinology Sector (directed by Prof. Mariacarolina Salerno) and the Clinical Psychology Unit of the University of Naples “Federico II” with the aim of: a medical-psychological care of the child/adolescent with DSD and his/her family.


Since 2007, clinical psychologists involved in supporting and taking care of these children/adolescents and their parents have met about one hundred families:


-        support endocrinologists in the delicate moment of communicating the diagnosis to the parents;

-        support parents in the development of their child’s condition;

-        support parents and adolescents in the vicinity of possible surgery;

-        support adolescents in the case of poor compliance with pharmacological therapy, but also for the elaboration of the diagnosis.



The specific nature of these conditions and the need for them to be followed by highly qualified specialists, combined with the scarce financial resources that lead doctors and psychologists to work often on a voluntary or precarious basis, has led the Genere, Identità e Cultura Foundation to allocate scholarships for young psychologists to continue the work of taking care of these families.


The Genere, Identità e Cultura Foundation has also set up a collaboration with the Clinical Psychology and Applied Psychoanalysis Unit of the University of Naples “Federico II” for the psychological support of children and adolescents with different gender identities and their families.


The term gender variance indicates the multiple variabilities in which gender identity can be declined, which, from a depathologising point of view, can indicate all the possible variations that can be encountered beyond the classic binary dichotomy between male and female genders.


Since 2005, the Clinical Psychology and Applied Psychoanalysis Unit has a service that deals exclusively with children and adolescents with different gender identities and their families.


The care of these people is usually very long, at least until they come of age, often even longer. Compared to adults who require psychological counselling and are usually quite sure of the gender change they wish to undergo, children and adolescents with variant gender identities show their confusion, their doubts, their perplexities about a society that still stigmatises all possible variations from genderist binarism. Parents also find themselves confused and confused and need psychological support to understand what is happening to their son/daughter.


Since 2005, 85 families have been taken care of, but the alarming fact is that in the last year alone, 30 families have requested psychological consultation and are currently being taken care of.


Also in this case, as in the case of Sexual Differentiation Disorders, there is a need for these people to be followed by clinical psychologists and psychotherapists who are experts in gender identity, its problems and its variances. Also in this case it is noted that most of the work is carried out on a precarious and often voluntary basis.