Research in Minnesota

Researchers in Minnesota have found that 2.7% of students in the state identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming. That is a surprisingly high percentage.

Lead author Marla Eisenberg, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said she was surprised that students throughout Minnesota were as likely as those living in the Twin Cities metro area to identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

I think there’s a perception that that’s a city thing.

--Eisenberg

The article, Risk and Protective Factors in the Lives of Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Adolescents, appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The prevalence of TGNC identity was 2.7% (n = 2,168) and varied significantly across gender, race/ethnicity, and economic indicators. Involvement in all types of risk behaviors and experiences was significantly higher, and reports of four protective factors were significantly lower among TGNC than cisgender youth. For example, almost two-thirds (61.3%) of TGNC youth reported suicidal ideation, which is over three times higher than cisgender youth (20.0%, χ2 = 1959.9, p < .001). Among TGNC youth, emotional distress and bullying experience were significantly more common among birth-assigned females than males.

Transgender and gender nonconforming teens had fewer “protective factors” to help prevent risky behaviors, the study said. Those factors included family connectedness, teacher-student relationships and feeling safe in the community.

What I would love to see is for parents, teachers, other adults to build up those kind of supports.

--Eisenberg

Health care providers are advised to act as allies by creating a safe space for young people, bolstering protective factors, and supporting their healthy development.

Minnesota's AG Lori Swanson joined with other AGS from around the country in writing a letter to the Congressional Armed Services Committees.

Nineteen state attorneys general wrote the House and Senate Armed Services committees this week asking them to write protections for transgender troops into the 2018 Defense Department budget that Congress is hammering out.

The new policy is also blatant discrimination. It has no place in our Armed Services. It is an insult to the courageous transgender service members who hold vital roles in our military and continue to make tremendous sacrifices for our country. Transgender individuals are valued members of our communities.

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