News Release 

Gender development in transgender children

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Transgender children show a pattern of gender development associated with their current gender and not the sex assigned at birth, according to a study. In Western societies, past generations of transgender individuals typically underwent social transition to live in accordance with their asserted gender identity in adolescence or adulthood. In recent years, however, the number of children socially transitioning in preschool or elementary school years has increased. Selin Gülgöz and colleagues studied gender identity and gender expression in a group of 317 children in the United States and Canada, ages 3-12 years, who are being raised as transgender from early childhood. Unlike their cisgender peers, the transgender children lived as a member of one gender before being treated as a member of another gender. The authors compared the gender development of the transgender cohort with that of cisgender children, including siblings. Across multiple measures of identity and gender typing, the transgender children showed few differences from cisgender children. In addition, the amount of time that had passed since the children's social transition was not associated with either stronger or weaker gender identity. According to the authors, these findings suggest that gender development in transgender children does not necessarily show a lingering impact of birth sex assignment, and future work should address how demographics and family support influence gender development.

Article # 19-09367: "Similarity in transgender and cisgender children's gender development," by Selin Gülgöz et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Selin Gülgöz, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; tel: 312-618-2739; e-mail:


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