Body Mod Survey by Dr. Mai-Anh Tran Ngoc

By: Dr. Mai-Anh Tran Ngoc

My name is Dr. Mai-Anh Tran Ngoc, and I am an adolescent medicine fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  I work in our Gender Health clinic, where I take care of transgender and gender diverse adolescents and young adults and provide medical transition services.  

The idea for my research study started when I met a young transgender girl who was tucking (compressing her genitals to have a flat groin contour) with duct tape and had skin break down. When I tried to look for other, safer tucking options to discuss with her, I realized that there was very little medical research on the ways transgender and gender diverse folks modify their bodies without using medications or surgery (I call these “body-mods” in the survey).  

Generally, we know that folks bind, pack, tuck, pad, pump, diet, and exercise, but we don’t know exactly what folks use for the various Body-Mods (for example, binding with a commercial binder, sports bras, or duct tape), where people learn about them, how these help or don’t help as a part of transition, and what side effects can occur, how often, and how often these side effects might need medical attention.  Without this information, it can be hard for trans/gender diverse folks, clinicians, and educators to know how to make Body-Mods as effective, convenient, and safe as possible. 

To help answer these questions, I have worked with people in the local trans/gender diverse community, including at the Out Alliance, to design a survey.  This survey will be available for all 15 to 25 year old transgender or gender diverse folks who are interested in providing information about what body-mods they use (or don’t use), where they learned about them, what are the benefits and drawbacks of using these methods, and what side effects they may have experienced.  The survey can take between 15-30 minutes to take, depending on how many body-mods you use. If you are interested in participating, please head over to https://pediatrics.urmc.edu/bodymods

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