A study conducted by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that a significant percentage of people between the ages of 12 and 17 in California self-identify or state that others view them as “gender nonconforming,” and not male or female.
Furthermore, the teens do not suffer from a higher suicide risk compared to their “gender conforming” counterparts, contrary to previous studies.
The study of “gender nonconforming” young people was based on the California Health Interview Survey, which asked 1,594 individuals in the age range two questions. The Williams Institute is a sexual orientation and gender identity think tank.
The first question asked, “Are you male or female?” A follow-up question asked interviewees to provide the following determination:
A person’s appearance, style, dress, or the way they walk or talk may affect how people describe them. How do you think other people at school would describe you?
• Very feminine
• Mostly feminine
• Equally feminine & masculine
• Mostly masculine
• Very masculine
Authors of the study categorized male participants who said others described them as “very feminine” or “mostly feminine” as “highly gender nonconforming.” Likewise, female respondents who said others see them as “very masculine” or “mostly masculine” were put in the same box. Respondents who responded with “equally feminine and masculine” were categorized as “androgynous.”
As Breitbart remarks of the study, young people organized into “highly gender nonconforming” numbered 59. 331 others were categorized as “androgynous.” Most of interviewees, numbering 1,204, sat firmly in the “gender conforming” category. In other words, they adhere to the gender binary of male and female.
In addition to the survey, the Williams Institute and UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research evaluated perceived mental health differences between “gender conforming” and “gender nonconforming” teenagers.
The organizations found no significant differences in the rates of suicidal thinking and suicide attempts between the two groups. The discovery contradicts studies cited by transgender activists who claim that “gender nonconforming” youth struggle with higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
However, as noted by the study, “gender nonconforming” youth were found to be twice as likely to suffer from mental illness compared to individuals comfortable with their biological sex.
“The data show that more than one in four California youth express their gender in ways that go against the dominant stereotypes,” said lead author Bianca D.M. Wilson of the Williams Institute. “However, the heightened psychological distress we see among gender nonconforming youth indicates that we must continue to educate parents, schools and communities on the mental health needs of these young people and reduce known risk factors, such as bullying and bias.”
Photograph courtesy of Charleston City Paper.