Trans kids are the same as any other kids, groundbreaking, landmark and completely obvious study finds
A major new study of trans and cisgender children found what is obvious to many – that trans kids are the same as any other kids.
Researchers from the University of Washington’s TransYouth project found there to be no difference in gender expression between trans and cis kids.
“Trans kids are showing strong identities and preferences that are different from their assigned sex,” wrote lead author Selin Gülgöz.
“There is almost no difference between these trans and cisgender kids of the same gender identity — both in how, and the extent to which, they identify with their gender or express that gender.”
More than 300 trans children aged between three and 12 took part in the study on gender development, the largest of its kind, along with 189 of their cis siblings and a further 316 cis control subjects.
Trans girls are girls, trans boys are boys, no matter how long they’ve been out.
There were “minimal or no differences” observed in the gender identity or expression among trans kids, regardless of how long they had been living as trans.
“Gender identity and gender-typed preferences manifest similarly in both cis and transgender children, even those who recently transitioned,” researchers wrote.
“Our findings suggest that early sex assignment and parental rearing based on that sex assignment do not always define how a child identifies or expresses gender later.”
Professor Julie Fish, an expert in LGBT+ health at De Monfort University, noted that this conclusion “present these practices as neutral which contrast with narrative accounts in which transgender children have reported experiencing distress, disturbed behaviour and withdrawal if their feelings are not acknowledged by their family and friends”.
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Trans kids study found gender stereotypes prevalent.
The study also found that trans children tend to gravitate towards toys, clothing and friendships that are stereotypically associated with their gender, regardless of whether they were assigned it at birth.
Simona Giordano, an expert in gender identity at the University of Manchester Law School, pointed out that this could reinforce the notion of binary gender, discounting non-binary and intersex identities.
“We instead need to recognise that none of these categories has precise boundaries,” Giordano told Newsweek.
However Gülgöz said that the study found a range of gender expressions, and showed that “in fact not all trans girls (or cis girls) want to wear frilly pink dresses or play with dolls”.
“We in fact see plenty of trans kids violating these stereotypes, just as we see cis kids do so,” she added.
“Other work in our lab has shown that trans kids either endorse gender stereotypes at equal rates or less than cis kids so the idea that trans kids are perpetuating stereotypes does not appear to hold up.”
Gülgöz added that the study does not answer why some children are drawn towards stereotypically gendered interest and items.