On the mental health of transgender children...Science!

More than enough people on the right think that transgender people transitioning is a sign of a mental disorder.


Dear Connie. I cannot speak professionally but can only repeat what professionals say about what you are going through. I believe it is called Gender Dysphoria, I hope I got the spelling right, and am saddened by the fact that North Carolina doesn’t provide the help you need to readjust from the mental disorder you suffer with. It appears that allowing you to use a bathroom, locker room or shower of your choice only reinforces the disorder not helps to correct it. As compassionate legislator I seek to help people who are suffering. If you are willing I can investigate promoting legislation to help those who suffer from this disorder and with your help can work to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by this disorder. I’m willing to help if you are willing to be helped and help others.

--NC Rep. Mark Brody, cosponsor of HB 2

Of course, Brody has no science supporting his view.

A new study of the state of transgender children who have socially transitioned has appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Mental Health and Self-Worth in Socially Transitioned Transgender Youth by Durwood, McLaughlin and Olson.


Objective: Social transitions are increasingly common for transgender children. A social transition involves a child presenting to other people as a member of the "opposite" gender in all contexts (e.g., wearing clothes and using pronouns of that gender). Little is known about the well-being of socially transitioned transgender children. This study examined self-reported depression, anxiety, and self-worth in socially transitioned transgender children compared with 2 control groups: age- and gender-matched controls and siblings of transgender children.

Results: Transgender children reported depression and self-worth that did not differ from their matched-control or sibling peers (p = .311), and they reported marginally higher anxiety (p = .076). Compared with national averages, transgender children showed typical rates of depression (p = .290) and marginally higher rates of anxiety (p = .096). Parents similarly reported that their transgender children experienced more anxiety than children in the control groups (p = .002) and rated their transgender children as having equivalent levels of depression (p = .728).

Conclusion: These findings are in striking contrast to previous work with gender-nonconforming children who had not socially transitioned, which found very high rates of depression and anxiety. These findings lessen concerns from previous work that parents of socially transitioned children could be systematically underreporting mental health problems.

For transgender children, support is crucial, suggests a new study published in the journal American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Each of the kids surveyed in this study have full support from their families and had already transitioned socially. Unlike many transgender people, who may struggle for years trying to conform to the gender they were assigned at birth or face backlash from family and friends when they come out, the kids in this study are already using the pronouns and wearing the clothing appropriate to their gender, with support from their families.

And it makes a huge difference. Compared to both their peers and their siblings, children who have been allowed to transition socially are at no greater risk of depression. This study confirms findings of a similar study done in February of 2016.

Kids who are able to transition have marginally higher risk of anxiety than their cisgender peers. This isn't too surprising, since even familial support doesn't diminish the oppression transgender kids face in a world where they often can't even go to the bathroom in peace.

Despite growing media attention for transgender children, we still have so much work to do to make sure growing up transgender is a beautiful and peaceful experience.


Science says: Support is required.

Anti-transgender legislation is not support.

More discussion: Medscape: Good Outcomes With Early Transition in Transgender Youth by Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW




Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)


(No subject)

Robyn's picture

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)