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Thomas Steensma and transgender people

Thomas Steensma is a Dutch clinician who works with gender diverse youth. Steensma’s research and clinical guidelines are frequently cited by anti-transgender extremists who reject affirmative models of care for young people seeking trans health services.

Anti-0trans activists who cite Steensma include:


Thomas D Steensma, PhD works at the Department of Medical Psychology / Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Steensma’s research is focused on people of all ages with gender incongruence. Steensma’s primary projects focus on treatment evaluation, psychosexual development and (gender) identity development (including non-binary gender identities). Steensma studied social and clinical psychology, and is trained as a child and adolescent health psychologist.

In 2018 KQED reported:

In Amsterdam, clinicians at the Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria are much more cautious about recommending social transitions because of the statistics on desistance. Thomas Steensma, a researcher and clinician at the center, acknowledges  these studies probably included some kids who would not be diagnosed with gender dysphoria today. Nevertheless, despite the problems with the way they classified children, “the only evidence I have from studies and reports in the literature  … is that not all transgender children will persist in their transgender identity,” Steensma said.’Why are we asking a child to conform to something that is not them because society hasn’t done its learning yet?’

In 2013, Steensma co-authored an oft-cited study that examined 127 adolescents, all of whom had displayed various levels of gender dysphoria as children. The researchers found that 80 of the children had desisted by the ages of 15 and 16. That works out to 63 percent of kids who basically stopped being transgender — a lower rate than in previous studies, but still a majority.

Some clinicians criticize this study, however, on methodological grounds, because the researchers defined anyone who did not return to their clinic as desisting. Fifty-two of the children classified as desistors or their parents did send back questionnaires showing the subjects’ present lack of gender dysphoria. But 28 neither responded nor could be tracked down.

Brooks (2018)


Brooks, Jon (May 23, 2018). The Controversial Research on ‘Desistance’ in Transgender Youth. KQED

Lane, Bernard (March 17, 2021 ). Dutch expert warns on ‘blind adoption’ of puberty blockers. The Australian

Henriette A Delemarre-van de Waal, Peggy T Cohen-Kettenis (2006). Clinical management of gender identity disorder in adolescents: a protocol on psychological and paediatric endocrinology aspects. European Journal of Endocrinology, Volume 155, Issue Supplement_1, Nov 2006, Pages S131–S137, [archive]


Steensma, T. D., McGuire, J. K., Kreukels, B. P. C., Beekman, A. J., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. (2013). Factors Associated With Desistence and Persistence of Childhood Gender Dysphoria: A Quantitative Follow-Up Study. In Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Vol. 52, Issue 6, pp. 582–590). Elsevier BV.

  • Comparison of surgical outcomes and urinary functioning after phalloplasty with versus without urethral lengthening in transgender men
    FPW de Rooij, WB van der Sluis, BL Ronkes, TD Steensma, M Al-Tamimi, International Journal of Transgender Health, 1-12 2022
  • P-506 Reflecting on the Importance of Family Building and Fertility Preservation: Transgender People’s Experiences with Starting Gender-affirming Treatment as Adolescent
    N Van Mello, I De Nie, J Asseler, M Arnoldussen, T Steensma, …
    Human Reproduction 37 (Supplement_1), deac107. 469 2022
  • Gender-affirmation surgery and bariatric surgery in transgender individuals in The Netherlands: Considerations, surgical techniques and outcomes
    WB van der Sluis, RJM Bruin, TD Steensma, MB Bouman
    International Journal of Transgender Health 23 (3), 355-361 2022
  • Differences in self-perception and social gender status in children with gender incongruence
    LR van der Vaart, A Verveen, HMW Bos, FB van Rooij, TD Steensma
    Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 13591045221099394 2022
    FPW de Rooij, WB van der Sluis, BL Ronkes, TD Steensma, M Al-Tamimi, …
    The Journal of Urology 207 (Supplement 5), e320 2022
  • Self-Perception of Transgender Adolescents after Gender-Affirming Treatment: A Follow-Up Study into Young Adulthood
    M Arnoldussen, AIR van der Miesen, WS Elzinga, AME Alberse, A Popma, …
    LGBT health 1 2022
  • Tailored Gender-Affirming Hormone Treatment in Nonbinary Transgender Individuals: A Retrospective Study in a Referral Center Cohort
    JB van Dijken, TD Steensma, SA Wensing-Kruger, M Heijer, …
    Transgender Health 2022
  • Talking About Sexuality With Youth: A Taboo in Psychiatry?
    SL Bungener, L Post, I Berends, TD Steensma, ALC de Vries, A Popma
    The Journal of Sexual Medicine 19 (3), 421-429 3 2022
  • Comparison of clinical outcomes after phalloplasty with versus without urethral lengthening in transgender men
    FPW de Rooij, WB Van der Sluis, BL Ronkes, TD Steensma, M Al-Tamimi,
    EUROPEAN UROLOGY 81, S1433-S1433 2022
  • Negative Media Coverage as a Barrier to Accessing Care for Transgender Children and Adolescents
    KC Pang, M Hoq, TD Steensma
    JAMA network open 5 (2), e2138623-e2138623 1 2022
  • Genderdysforie
    SA Wensing-Kruger, L Nes, TD Steensma
    Het lichaam en psychisch functioneren, 261-277 2022
  • Surgical and demographic trends in genital gender-affirming surgery in transgender women: 40 years of experience in Amsterdam
    WB van der Sluis, I de Nie, TD Steensma, NM van Mello, …
    British Journal of Surgery 109 (1), 8-11 1 2022
  • Psychological Functioning in Non-binary Identifying Adolescents and Adults
    NM de Graaf, B Huisman, PT Cohen-Kettenis, J Twist, K Hage, …
    Journal of sex & marital therapy 47 (8), 773-784 5 2021
  • Longitudinal Outcomes of Gender Identity in Children (LOGIC): study protocol for a retrospective analysis of the characteristics and outcomes of children referred to specialist …
    E Kennedy, C Lane, H Stynes, V Ranieri, L Spinner, P Carmichael, …
    BMJ open 11 (11), e054895 1 2021
  • Transgender specific problem situations experienced during transition: Development of a Transgender Coping Questionnaire part 1
    MJA Verbeek, MA Hommes, TD Steensma, AER Bos, J van Lankveld
    4th EPATH Hybrid Conference: Reconnecting and Redefining Transgender Healthcare 2021
  • Body image in children with gender incongruence
    A Verveen, BPC Kreukels, NM de Graaf, TD Steensma
    Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 26 (3), 839-854 1 2021
  • Gender incongruence and gender dysphoria in childhood and adolescence—current insights in diagnostics, management, and follow-up
    H Claahsen-van der Grinten, C Verhaak, T Steensma, T Middelberg, …
    European Journal of Pediatrics 180 (5), 1349-1357 21 2021
  • Psychopathology in adult transgender people
    G Castellini, J Ristori, T Steensma
    European Psychiatry 64 (S1), S47-S47 2021
  • Reliability and clinical utility of gender identity-related diagnoses: comparisons between the ICD-11, ICD-10, DSM-IV, and DSM-5
    ALC De Vries, TF Beek, K Dhondt, HCW De Vet, PT Cohen-Kettenis, …
    LGBT health 8 (2), 133-142 3 2021
  • Proportion of people identified as transgender and non-binary gender in Brazil
    G Spizzirri, R Eufrásio, MCP Lima, HR de Carvalho Nunes, BPC Kreukels,
    Scientific reports 11 (1), 1-7 33 2021
  • Protocol: Longitudinal Outcomes of Gender Identity in Children (LOGIC): study protocol for a retrospective analysis of the characteristics and outcomes of children referred to …
    E Kennedy, C Lane, H Stynes, V Ranieri, L Spinner, P Carmichael, …
    BMJ Open 11 (11) 2021
  • Sexual experiences of young transgender persons during and after gender-affirmative treatment
    S Bungener, ALC de Vries, A Popma, TD Steensma
    Pediatrics 146 (6) 6 2020
  • Suicidality in clinic-referred transgender adolescents
    NM de Graaf, TD Steensma, P Carmichael, DP VanderLaan, M Aitken, …
    European child & adolescent psychiatry, 1-17 15 2020
    Timing of puberty suppression and surgic


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