In one of the largest and most diverse studies of transgender youths to date, researchers led by a team at The University of Texas at Austin have found that when transgender youths are allowed to use their chosen name in places such as work, school and at home, their risk of depression and suicide drops.
“Many kids who are transgender have chosen a name that is different than the one that they were given at birth,” said author Stephen T. Russell, professor and chair of human development and family science. “We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was.”
The study in the Journal of Adolescent Health was published this week in advance of Saturday’s annual Transgender Day of Visibility.
Transgender and gender-fluid teens, particularly those born male, face up to three times more mental and physical abuse at school and at home than their gender-conforming peers, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.
The study is one of the largest national surveys to date of sexual and gender minority adolescents who have suffered multiple forms of victimization, including child abuse, physical and sexual assault and bullying, raising their risk of depression, post-traumatic stress, self-harm and suicide.
“Our results show that approximately 50 to 70 percent of trans and gender-fluid teens reported being exposed to 10 or more different types of aggression,” said study lead author Paul Sterzing, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of social welfare. “For these young people, victimization is happening in the home. It’s happening at school. It’s happening online. There often isn’t a safe harbor for them.”
Studies of mental health among transgender people in the United States have been consistently grim, showing higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.
But almost nothing is known about the mental health of a new and growing generation of transgender Americans — prepubescent children who are living openly as transgender with the support of their families. How do those children fare in an environment of openness and family support? When their gender identity is affirmed, are they happy?
New University of Washington research suggests the answer is yes. To be published Feb. 26 in Pediatrics, the study is believed to be the first to look at the mental health of transgender children who have “socially transitioned,” changing their preferred pronouns and typically, their names, clothing and hairstyles.