May 6, 2022

Transgender kids do not regret transitioning

Remarkably few transgender kids regret transitioning socially, new research shows. 94 percent stick with their identity.

The youth desistance myth

Anti-transgender activists who attack health care for trans kids love to question the stability of the gender identities of children. The main message is that (1) the kids have no idea what they are talking about, (2) they are influenced by "the transgender cult" and misguided parents and (3) most of the children become cis (non-transgender) in the end.

This is all very strange, given the kind of harassment trans and queer youth face when coming out. If this was all a propaganda-fueled whim, why do their transgender identities persist over so many years? 

What about the research documenting that most of them become cis in the end? We hear numbers from 65 to 95 percent, right?  

Well, it turns out that those researchers did not study gender dysphoric transgender kids who identified as another gender (compared to the one assigned to them at birth). Instead they looked at kids who expressed any kind of gender variance (as in expressing untypical gendered behavior), which is obviously not the same.

More about that here and here.

As for trans kids following fashions or the transgender ideologies of parents: We have heard this before, right: "Gay parents raise gay kids!" Right wing extremists and leftist TERFs talk about "grooming." It doesn't work that way. Most gay and trans kids have cis/straight parents.  In fact, most parents of trans kids go through periods of denial and resistance.

New research shows that 94 percent stick with their trans identity

So the persistence and intensity of the gender identities of transgender kids are clearly based in something more stable and fundamental than transgender propaganda. But do we have the science to back that up?

Yes we do.

According to a new study published by Pediatrics, the peer reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics,  94% of youth remained in their identified gender 5 years after transitioning socially.

The researchers write:

We found that an average of 5 years after their initial social transition, 7.3% of youth had retransitioned at least once. At the end of this period, most youth identified as binary transgender youth (94%), including 1.3% who retransitioned to another identity before returning to their binary transgender identity. 2.5% of youth identified as cisgender and 3.5% as nonbinary. Later cisgender identities were more common amongst youth whose initial social transition occurred before age 6 years; the retransition often occurred before age 10.

Note that the few "desisters" found retranstioned before they reached puberty, i.e. before puberty blockers became relevant. Note also that we are talking about children and youth transitioning socially here, a process that most often involves changing a child’s pronouns, first name, hairstyle, and clothing. This is not about surgery or hormone replacement therapy.

They do not change their minds

“There’s this sort of idea that the kids are going to be starting those things and that they’re going to change their minds,” says Kristina Olson, a psychologist at Princeton University who led the study to the New York Times. “And at least in our sample, we’re not finding that.”

“I can count on one hand the number of kids in our 200 plus population who have retransitioned," Dr. Kristin Dayton, a pediatric endocrinologist who works with youth undergoing gender transitions in Florida, tells ABC News. She argues that the new research reflects what she sees in her own clinic.

So lets stop harassing transgender kids and give them the support and the love they deserve!


The researchers have used data from the Trans Youth Project, followed 317 children, between the ages of three and 12,  from across the United States and Canada, through their gender affirmation.

Kristina R. Olson, PhD; Lily Durwood, MS; Rachel Horton, BS; Natalie M. Gallagher, PhD; Aaron Devor, PhD: Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition, Pediatrics (2022)

More about The Trans Youth Desistance Myth.

More about the study: Young Trans Children Know Who They Are

Illustration via Helen Field/Getty

1 comment:

  1. No surprise here of course as the history of treatment of trans people is now well established. In spite of the massive ignorance in this world, all experts in this field understand this reality. Thanks for posting Jack :)


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