Thursday, February 09, 2017

Let The Child Lead The Way

It is something that the community knew long before the researchers knew, that the child knows best who they are but now researcher are catching up.
Good Outcomes With Early Transition in Transgender Youth
By Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW
February 08, 2017

Transgender children who socially transition early are comparable to other children in measures of mental health, new research shows.

In "striking contrast" to previous work showing high rates of depression and anxiety in nontransitioned children, the current analysis shows that although transgender children who had socially transitioned reported marginally higher anxiety than matched control persons or their sibling peers, they did not differ in reports of depression and self-worth.

"We found remarkably good mental health outcomes in socially transitioned transgender children in the present study," the researchers, led by Lily Durwood, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, Seattle, conclude.
I think that we as trans people knew that already, if you know any child who transitioned early in life you could see how happy they are and if they had any problems it can usually be traced back to bullying and harassment, not problems with their transition.

The article continues,
Social Transition
Many young transgender children have regarded their gender identity as different from their natal sex for months or years. In response, some parents have allowed these children to socially transition — to change his or her first name, pronouns, hairstyle, and clothing so as to live everyday life as the opposite gender. This approach has been regarded with skepticism in lay and scientific communities, the authors explain.

But "previous research has actually found high rates of depression and anxiety in gender-nonconforming children who had not transitioned," Durwood pointed out.

To assess the mental health of socially transitioned transgender children, the researchers studied participants in the TransYouth Project, a national longitudinal study of socially transitioned transgender children from 23 US states and one Canadian province.

Children reported on anxiety and depression using the pediatric short form of the National Institutes of Health's Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement System (PROMIS) scale, and parents completed the proxy version of the anxiety and depression PROMIS scales. Self-worth scores were obtained using the Global Self-Worth Subscale of the Harter Self-perception Profile for Children.
REFINERY29 in article about the research wrote,
Yet, greater media representation has not dispelled some pervasive myths about transgender people — including that simply being transgender means you're more likely to be depressed.

There's certainly scientific evidence that young transgender people can be at greater risk for depression and anxiety than their cisgender peers. But these studies often don't take into account whether or not their subjects have support from family or friends.
Each of the kids surveyed in this study have full support from their families and had already transitioned socially. Unlike many transgender people, who may struggle for years trying to conform to the gender they were assigned at birth or face backlash from family and friends when they come out, the kids in this study are already using the pronouns and wearing the clothing appropriate to their gender, with support from their families.

And it makes a huge difference. Compared to both their peers and their siblings, children who have been allowed to transition socially are at no greater risk of depression. This study confirms findings of a similar study done in February of 2016.
Having support of their family makes all the difference in the world! Also having a support network of friends and classmates, a supportive school further enhances a positive outcome.

But having all the above do not mean that the risks are zero, there’re some who will hard time transitioning.

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