According to a new survey that reflects a striking generational transition as well as a rising cultural tolerance of a range of gender identities, the number of young people who identify as transgender has almost doubled in recent years. The report was created to document these changes.
The study, which relied on government health surveys carried out between 2017 and 2020, projected that 1.4 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds and 1.3 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds were transgender, and around 0.5 percent of all adults were transgender.
Despite the fact that the last study from the researchers was written in 2017, these statistics showed a large increase. However, the studies used different approaches.
According to the opinions of several experts, younger individuals are more likely to have access to the vocabulary and social acceptability necessary to investigate their gender identities, but older persons may have a greater sense of restriction. But these data, which range greatly from one state to the next, also raise issues about the impact that one’s peers might have on one’s political leanings and the political atmosphere of the community.
According to Dr. Angela Goepferd, medical director of the Gender Health Program at Children’s Minnesota hospital, who was not involved in the current study, “it is developmentally acceptable for teens to explore all elements of their identity – that is what teenagers do.” “And over the course of many generations, gender has evolved into a component of a person’s identity that is increasingly socially acceptable to investigate.”
Alterations are also being made to the conception of what it means to live as a transgender person. Dr. Goepferd, who identifies as nonbinary, made the observation that many adolescents may not necessarily desire or require hormones or procedures in order to transition to another gender, as was characteristic of past generations. She also emphasised that this is not the case for older generations.
The surveys, which were developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did not question younger teens about nonbinary or other gender identities, both of which have been increasing in popularity in recent years. But among the people who participated in the polls and stated they were transgender, roughly one quarter of them identified as “gender nonconforming.”
Dr. Goepferd advised that, as a society, “we just need to lean into the idea that there is gender variation among us.” “And that it does not imply that we need to treat it medically in all circumstances,” the speaker said, “but that it does mean that we as a culture need to create room for that.”
Transgender identification has become political dynamite in recent years, driven in part by an increase in the number of minors seeking medical treatments. Despite the fact that the total estimated number of transgender people was relatively low — approximately 1.6 million people 13 and older, which is approximately 0.6 percent of the population — trans identification has become a hot topic. Legislators affiliated with the Republican party in many states have advocated for the criminalization of medical professionals and the investigation of parents for possible child abuse in an effort to outlaw the provision of such treatment.
Researchers at the Williams Institute, a research centre located within the law school at the University of California, Los Angeles, have analysed the new data. The Williams Institute is known for producing highly regarded reports on the demographics, behaviours, and policy concerns of L.G.B.T.Q. populations in the United States.
According to the findings of the research, a disproportionately big fraction of the transgender community is made up of persons between the ages of 13 and 25. Although younger teens accounted for just 7.6 percent of the entire population of the United States, they comprised around 18 percent of the transgender community. Similarly, individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 made up just 11 percent of the overall population but 24 percent of the transgender community.
Although older individuals made up 62 percent of the entire population, just 47 percent of transgender persons were in this age range (25 to 64 years old). Even though adults over the age of 65 make up 20 percent of the population in the United States, they only make up 10 percent of the overall number of transgender people in the country.
The data used by the Williams Institute came from two national sources: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was given to adults all over the country, and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey of the CDC, which was given in high schools. The surveys, which were either done over the phone or in person, collect data on demographics as well as a variety of medical and behavioural information, such as smoking habits, H.I.V. status, nutrition, and exercise. Additionally, the surveys collect information on a variety of medical conditions and behaviours.
In the high school survey that began in 2017, an optional question was included inquiring whether or not the student identified as transgender. There were 15 states that asked this issue in their high school surveys between 2017 and 2020, whereas 41 states asked it of adults at least once over the same time period.