Positive Health Effects when Supporting Transgender Children
The medical journal Pediatrics released a report today which found that transgender kids have positive health affects when their gender identity is supported. This is the largest study to date which looks at the psychological affects on children who have transitioned.
Kristina Olson, an associate psychology professor at the University of Washington, was the lead author of the study. It finds that support is the key to good health for transgender children. The study compared 73 transgender kids aged 3 to 12 with 73 non-transgender children. Rates of depression and anxiety were found to be equal in both groups.
Parents were recruited from places such as support groups and conferences. A website was created which allowed parents to rate their child’s well-being on a standard mental health scale. Dr. Ilana Sherer, a Dublin, California Pediatrician, said that the findings were “truly stunning” in her editorial for Pediatrics. The children included in the study did not undergo any sex reassignment treatment. The study also found some parents were initially opposed letting their kids come out. Olsen went on to say, “the results don’t apply to all transgender kids, especially those whose parents oppose their change in identity.”
“Dad, I can’t. It’s harder to live a lie and not as I am truly than to deal with this anxiety right now”
One of the participants in the study was Micah Heumann, an academic adviser at the University of Illinois. His 10 year old son Daniel is transgender and identified as male as soon as he knew what gender was. He allowed his son to legally change his name when he was in second grade. Daniel’s school also gave him full support and allowed him to use the restrooms that matched his gender identity. “He is very well-adjusted, but still feels stress because he knows not everyone is so accepting.” Heumann said. “He was very anxious before coming out at school,” but refused the option of keeping the secret, Heumann also recalled. “He looked at me and said, ‘Dad, I can’t. It’s harder to live a lie and not as I am truly than to deal with this anxiety right now.” said Heumann.
Opponents of allowing transgender kids to live in their true gender claim they are too young to know what their gender is. It appears they may be wrong about that,