Transgender Kids Allowed To Live Openly ‘Have Good Mental Health’


Young transgender children allowed to live openly as the gender they identify with are doing psychologically as well as other kids, new research performed by the University of Washington shows. Rates of depression and anxiety were equal in the study, which compared 73 transgender kids aged 3 to 12 with 73 nontransgender children. The trans kids fared as well as a group of their nontransgender siblings.

Rates of anxiety among trans kids were slightly higher than national averages for children of the same age, but otherwise they matched national norms. The findings challenge long-held assumptions that mental health problems in transgender children are inevitable, or even that being transgender is itself a type of mental disorder.

“The thinking has always been that kids who are not acting gender-stereotypically are basically destined to have mental health problems,” Olson, an assistant professor reported to UW Today. “In our study, that’s not the case.”

Co-author Katie McLaughlin, a UW assistant professor of psychology, called the findings “incredibly promising.”

“They suggest that mental health problems are not inevitable in this group, and that family support might buffer these children from the onset of mental health problems so commonly observed in transgender people,” she said.

The study is part of the TransYouth Project. The initiative is the first large-scale, study of transgender children in the U.S. It currently involves more than 150 transgender children and families from about 25 states, and Olson is recruiting additional participants. The project’s initial study, published in 2015, found that transgender children’s gender identities were as deeply rooted as those of their non-trans peers.



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  1. “The findings challenge long-held assumptions that mental health problems in transgender children are inevitable, or even that being transgender is itself a type of mental disorder.” I think this demonstrates quite clearly that the ever-growing consistent theme being uncovered by research now is that transgender is a biological issue, NOT a psychological problem. You are BORN transgender, and there is nothing you can do about it. There is nothing to cure psychologically, and the only remediation appears to be gender reassignment in order to create a more comfortable fit between the body and the mind. The mind is what is preeminent in this equation; the body is secondary and can be manipulated to represent the real internal person more closely. It is unfortunate that hormone therapy and surgery are so expensive.

  2. *

    I seem to frequently get returned to this article. Is it fate?

    Every time I see the picture of those three children with their big smiles I can’t help but smile back at the computer and wish for them a better life than what the politicians have planned in their schemes.

    In some ways I admit that seeing them brings back a bit of my own childhood 50-some years ago and, in speaking for myself all these years later, I must agree with the study.

    To be inter-sexed and transsexed is both a curse and a blessing. Perhaps my life would have been better if my parents allowed me to transition as a child; there were many points in time when that change would have been seamless. On the other hand, I did get a chance to live as a sex that was not me – and learn from that experience.


  3. Jonice Ferguson on

    I am curious: How do people in general come up with the money to be able to get the surgery done? (Male to female). Do they save for it, do they have sponsors, or is there an organization to help with some of the cost? So many questions I have. I hope I get some answers.

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