A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health demonstrates the power of affirming transgender youth’s identities: For each additional context (i.e., at home, school, work, or with friends) in which a transgender youth’s chosen name is used, their risk of suicidal behavior is reduced by more than half. Another study, published in the journal Pediatrics, finds that transgender youth who have fully socially transitioned to their identified gender, and have been supported in doing so, do not have elevated depressive symptoms compared to the broader population. And in an era in which overall youth suicide rates have significantly increased over the last decade, it is critical to take steps to reduce risk for suicide.
Transgender individuals make up approximately 0.7 percent of the populationof youth ages 13–17 and 18–24. Because the transgender community is small, much of the research on transgender youth is either based on qualitative data or correlational in nature; collecting causal data requires a large sample. Even so, the emerging literature paints a clear and consistent message: Acceptance of transgender youth’s identities is associated with better outcomes. The corollary is also true: Denial, misgendering, and misnaming transgender youth can make things worse.
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