Dr. David Matthew Doyle, of the University of Exeter, has been awarded a 1.5 million European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for the project, called AFFIRM Relationships.
“Many transgender people experience an uncertainty about what will happen psychosocially during gender-affirming hormone therapy,” Dr. Doyle said.
“With limited evidence-based information available, they often have to go to friends or look online or on social media to find out about other people’s experiences.
“The goal of this project is to provide scientific evidence about what sorts of outcomes they might expect, especially in terms of their emotional and social lives.”
Dr. Doyle added: “In the past, transgender healthcare has often been about health professionals telling people what sort of care they should have.
“This is now shifting. AFFIRM Relationships will empower transgender people, ensuring they know what to expect and enabling them to give informed consent for their care.”
The project will seek to identify the causal links between GAHT and psychosocial functioning (a combination of psychological well-being, self-control, and interpersonal functioning).
It will also empower transgender people to voice their personal and relational experiences in the context of GAHT.
The project’s results could guide policy and practice for gender identity services in the UK and globally.
Dr. Doyle said the project would also be the most extensive longitudinal cohort study of UK transgender people receiving GAHT.
He is one of 397 early-career researchers to win an ERC Starting Grant, with 619 million awarded in total.
The grants are intended to help “ambitious younger researchers launch their projects, form their teams and pursue their best ideas.”
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “With this very first round of long-awaited grants, I am glad to see the European Research Council remaining a flagship for excellent and curiosity-driven science under the Horizon Europe program.
“I am looking forward to seeing what breakthroughs and opportunities the new ERC laureates will bring and how they will inspire young people to follow their curiosity and make discoveries for the benefit of us all.”
The full title of the AFFIRM Relationships project is: “Implications of Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy for Psychosocial Functioning and Social Relationships of Transgender People.”