Study Suggests Trans Kids Understand Their Gender Identities Just Like Cis Kids


Another academic study has concluded what most of us have long known about transgender kids: They have a clear understanding of their gender identity from a young age, just like cisgender kids.

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle surveyed more than 300 trans children between the ages of 3 and 12 and more than 400 cis kids, including some of the trans participants’ siblings, Reuters Health reports. Respondents were asked questions about their sense of gender identity, their preferences for different types of toys, and their choice of clothes.

The research team’s findings were illuminating, though perhaps predictable for anyone who knows a trans child: Transgender participants displayed an overwhelmingly clear “confidence in their gender identity” from an early age that was generally comparable to that of cis children.

Anatoliy Cherkasov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

“Trans kids are showing strong identities and preferences that are different from their assigned sex,” said Selin Gulgoz, the study’s lead author, in a press statement. “There is almost no difference between these trans—and cisgender kids of the same gender identity—both in how, and the extent to which, they identify with their gender or express that gender.”

Gulgoz’s research dovetails off a handful of previous surveys of transgender youth. In 2017, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that affirming how trans children identify alleviates the potential for serious mental health issues almost entirely.

And in 2018, a pair of studies in March and May offered new insight into the theory that transness in people of all ages, including children, is more intrinsic and biological than previously thought.

Since anywhere between .7% to 3% of America’s youth identify as transgender—and experience disproportionately high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations—perhaps it’s finally time for bigots to retire that whole “trans kids can’t possibly understand their own gender identity” talking point. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, you listening?

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.



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