Sunday, January 24, 2016

What We Need Now

Is long term research in to trans children, what works and what doesn’t. Right now there is a lack of longitudinal studies, but that is about to change.
First U.S. Study of Transgender Youth Funded by NIH
Four Sites With Dedicated Transgender Youth Clinics to Examine Long-Term Treatment Effects
University of California San Francisco
By Juliana Bunim
August 17, 2015

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.7 million for a five-year, multicenter study, which will be the first in the U.S. to evaluate the long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth. This study will provide essential, evidence-based information on the physiological and psychosocial impact, as well as safety, of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones use in this population.
[…]
The study — which will begin enrollment in fall 2015 — will include 280 transgender youth with gender dysphoria, those who are persistently distressed by the incongruity between their gender of identity and the gender they were assigned at birth. Participants will be those who seek medical intervention to align their physical bodies with their gender identity and alleviate gender dysphoria and its associated negative effects, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

The study will include youth from two age groups: younger children in early puberty, who will receive hormone blockers, called GnRH agonists, used to suspend the process of puberty — preventing the development of undesired secondary sex characteristics; and older adolescents, who will begin use of masculinizing or feminizing cross-sex hormones that allow them to go through the ‘right’ puberty — consistent with their gender of identification.
The opposition have used studies that reported that 80% of the trans children turn out not to be trans, but the problem with that study is that many of the children in the study were not trans, they didn’t meet the DSM definition of gender dysphoria. They were either feminine boys or masculine girls and the study also labeled children who dropped out of the study as not being trans even though they didn’t know the reason why they dropped out.

Another article mentions another study on trans children, the study was reported in the Association for Psychological Science.
Transgender Kids Show Consistent Gender Identity Across Measures
January 29, 2015

A study with 32 transgender children, ages 5 to 12, indicates that the gender identity of these children is deeply held and is not the result of confusion about gender identity or pretense. The study, led by psychological scientist Kristina Olson of the University of Washington, is one of the first to explore gender identity in transgender children using implicit measures that operate outside conscious awareness and are, therefore, less susceptible to modification than self-report measures.
[…]
Olson and co-authors Nicholas Eaton at Stony Brook University and Aidan Key of Gender Diversity, a Seattle organization that provides training and runs support groups for families of gender-nonconforming children, specifically focused their study on transgender children who were living as their identified gender in all aspects of their lives, who came from supportive home environments, and who had not yet reached puberty. The participants and their cisgender (non-transgender) siblings were recruited through support groups, conferences, and word of mouth.

Finally, the researchers recruited cisgender children from a database of families interested in participating in developmental psychology research studies. These cisgender children were age-matched to the transgender participants for analytical comparisons.

To get a comprehensive sense of the children’s gender identity, Olson and colleagues used self-report measures that asked children to reflect on aspects of their gender in combination with implicit measures designed to gauge the strength of the children’s more automatic gender associations.
So what did they find?
Overall, data from the various measures indicated that transgender children’s responses were indistinguishable from those of two groups of cisgender children.

On the IAT [Implicit Association Test] measuring children’s gender identity, transgender children showed a strong implicit identification with their expressed gender. When the researchers looked at the data according to the children’s expressed gender, they saw that the data from transgender girls showed the same pattern as the data from cisgender girls and the data from transgender boys showed the same pattern as data from cisgender boys.
[…]
Transgender children also showed the same pattern of results as cisgender children on the explicit measures included in the study. For example, transgender girls, just like cisgender girls, preferred to be friends with other girls and they tended to prefer toys and foods that other girls liked.
This study wasn't a longitudinal study, it was only a snapshot of how that felt during the study.


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