More Teens Identify as Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming

More teens in the U.S. identify as transgender and gender-nonconforming than previously known, according to data from a recent study.

Published Monday in Pediatrics, the study, which surveyed 81,000 Minnesota teens between 9th and 11th grade, suggests that "nearly 3 percent" of teens identify as trans or gender-nonconforming. As the Associated Press reports, this latest study shows higher numbers than similar research published in January 2017 that suggested about 0.7 percent of 13-17 year olds in the U.S. don't identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, or found their identities outside the gender binary.

According to the Associated Press, experts hypothesize that increased visibility is helping more teens open up about their gender identity.

"Diverse gender identities are more prevalent than people would expect," lead author Nic Rider, a University of Minnesota postdoctoral fellow who studies transgender health, told the Associated Press. "With growing trans visibility in the United States, some youth might find it safer to come out and talk about gender exploration."

Research repeatedly shows that transgender and genderqueer students disproportionately experience bullying and harassment in school. While the data published in Pediatrics doesn't offer any solutions, increased understanding about the number of teens who identify as trans and genderqueer will hopefully lead to developing better, more effective policies for supporting them.

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