More US teens are rejecting 'boy' or 'girl' gender identities, a study finds

More teenagers are identifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid, acco...

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 10:02 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 10:02 AM

More teenagers are identifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid, according to a new study.

The research, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that almost 3% of Minnesota teens did not identify with traditional gender labels such as "boy" or "girl." That number is higher than researchers expected. A UCLA study from a year ago estimated that 0.7% of teens identified as transgender.

Lead researcher Nic Rider of the University of Minnesota said the main purpose of the new study was to examine health differences between gender-nonconforming teens and teens who are cisgender, a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth.

The study found that transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth reported "reported significantly poorer health" -- including mental health -- than cisgender teenagers. TGNC teens also were less likely to get preventive health checkups and more likely to visit their school nurse, the study found.

But more surprising may have been the rising percentage of teens who say they don't fit traditional gender norms.

The study supports prior research suggesting "that previous estimates of the size of the TGNC population have been underestimated by orders of magnitude," wrote Daniel Shumer, a specialist in transgender medicine at the University of Michigan, in an accompanying opinion article.

Two studies

Rider is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota's Program in Human Sexuality. For their research, Rider's team examined data from a 2016 survey of almost 81,000 Minnesota students in the 9th and 11th grades.

Nearly 2,200 of these teens -- about 2.7% -- answered yes to the question: Do you consider yourself transgender, genderqueer, gender-fluid or unsure of your gender identification? The term "genderqueer" describes a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions and may identify with neither, both, or a combination of male and female identities.

That's a big jump from the UCLA study, which was published in January 2017 and estimated that 0.7% of American teens ages 13-17 identify as transgender.

That study was based on government data on adults collected by 27 US states in 2014 and 2015. The survey's researchers used the adult data to estimate the percentage of transgender teens.

Rider's new study only focuses on Minnesota teens, but researchers hope to expand it into a national study to get more accurate data.

'A window into high school-aged youth'

Growing awareness and visibility surrounding transgender issues in recent years may make teenagers more comfortable with steering away from traditional gender labels, experts say.

Shumer, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, believes that the growing percentage of gender-nonconforming youth should serve as a lesson to schools and physicians to abandon limited views of gender.

"Of particular interest is how the researchers in this study were able to provide a window into how high school-aged youth understand and redefine gender," he wrote.

"Continued work to build understanding of how youth understand and express gender is a critical step toward reducing health disparities in this important and valued population."

Rider hopes this study will help improve health care for transgender teenagers, adding that doctors and parents should help gender-nonconforming youth feel more comfortable about seeking medical help.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Florence
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 92°
Fayetteville
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Decatur
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 91°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 65274

Reported Deaths: 749
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby14163224
Davidson13976146
Rutherford375539
Hamilton353538
Sumner204056
Williamson193916
Knox171710
Out of TN166012
Trousdale15105
Wilson126117
Putnam10817
Unassigned10772
Bradley10104
Robertson97313
Sevier9244
Montgomery8247
Tipton7177
Lake6960
Macon6467
Bledsoe6311
Bedford6309
Hamblen5084
Maury4993
Hardeman4444
Madison3842
Fayette3805
Rhea3500
Blount3483
Loudon3312
Dyer3023
McMinn29319
Cheatham2873
Dickson2820
Washington2760
Lawrence2506
Sullivan2485
Cumberland2294
Anderson2112
Gibson2031
Jefferson1931
Lauderdale1934
Smith1852
Warren1590
Greene1572
Monroe1566
Coffee1520
Cocke1460
Haywood1413
Hardin1407
Obion1273
Marshall1232
Wayne1230
Franklin1223
Giles1221
McNairy1171
Hickman1120
Carter1082
Marion1014
DeKalb990
Hawkins952
Lincoln950
White933
Roane880
Henderson830
Chester810
Overton791
Weakley791
Claiborne760
Campbell721
Grundy672
Crockett653
Unicoi600
Grainger590
Cannon580
Carroll571
Polk570
Henry540
Sequatchie520
Jackson500
Johnson490
Humphreys482
Perry430
Meigs400
Decatur350
Morgan341
Fentress290
Scott290
Union280
Stewart270
Clay230
Houston230
Moore230
Benton161
Hancock120
Lewis120
Van Buren90
Pickett80

 

 

Community Events