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Study suggests number of trans and gender-nonconforming teens growing, but poorer health higher than among cis youth

More teenagers are identifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid. Sadly, transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth “reported significantly poorer health” (including mental health) than cisgender teenagers.

Now more than ever, more teenagers are identifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid.

This is according to a new study – “Health and Care Utilization of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth: A Population-Based Study” – published in the journal Pediatrics, and which found that almost 3% of teens (at least in Minnesota, where the respondents were sourced) did not identify with traditional gender labels such as “boy” or “girl.”

The new number is higher than the figure cited by an earlier study – i.e. in 2017, a UCLA study estimated that (only) 0.7% of teens identified as transgender.

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Despite the growing SOGIE awareness, however, researchers G. Nicole Rider, Barbara J. McMorris, Amy L. Gower, Eli Coleman and Marla E. Eisenberg noted that transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth “reported significantly poorer health” (including mental health) than cisgender teenagers; and were also “less likely to get preventive health checkups, and more likely to visit their school nurse.”

For example, 62.1% of youth who are TGNC reported their general health as poor, fair, or good versus very good or excellent, compared with 33.1% of cisgender youth,” the researchers noted. “Among the TGNC sample, those whose gender presentation was perceived as very congruent with their birth-assigned sex were less likely to report poorer health and long-term mental health problems compared with those with other gender presentations.”

And as more of the youth identify as TGNC, the researchers recommend for “health care providers (to) screen for health risks and identify barriers to care for TGNC youth while promoting and bolstering wellness within this community.” This is to stress that “health care utilization differs between TGNC versus cisgender youth and across gender presentations within TGNC youth.”

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