Young children who transition to a new gender with social changes — taking on new names, pronouns, haircuts and clothing — are likely to continue identifying as that gender five years later, according to a report published on Wednesday, the first study of its kind.
The data come from the Trans Youth Project, a well-known effort following 317 children across the United States and Canada who underwent a so-called social transition between ages of 3 and 12. Participants transitioned, on average, at age 6.5.
The vast majority of the group still identified with their new gender five years later, according to the study, and many had begun hormonal medications in adolescence to prompt biological changes to align with their gender identities. The study found that 2.5 percent of the group had reverted to identifying as the gender they were assigned at birth.
As tension mounts in courtrooms and statehouses across the country about the appropriate health care for transgender children, there’s been little hard data to draw on about their long-term development. The new study provides one of the first large data sets on this group. The researchers plan to continue following this cohort for 20 years after their social transitions began.