A new study published Monday in
Pediatrics found that more U.S. teens than previously believed
identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.
The study estimated that nearly 3
percent of teens identify as such.
Researchers analyzed a 2016 statewide
survey of nearly 81,000 Minnesota teens in the 9th and
11th grades. Nearly 2,200 of the students identified as
transgender or gender nonconforming.
“Diverse gender identities are more
prevalent than people would expect,” said lead author Nic Rider, a
postdoctoral fellow who studies transgender youth at the University
A 2017 UCLA study estimated that 0.7
percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 and 0.6 percent of
adults identify as transgender. Researchers used government data on
adults to estimate the number of transgender teens.
“With growing trans visibility in the
United States, some youth might find it safer to come out and talk
about gender exploration,” Rider said.
Researchers also found that teenagers
that identify as transgender or gender nonconforming reported worse
mental and physical health than other teens. Previous studies
reached similar results. Rider speculated that bullying and
discrimination might play a role in health outcomes.