A lingering belief that children identify as transgender due to hormone imbalances has been put to rest in a new study by the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
The study found that hormone levels in transgender men and women were both consistent with those found in those who identified with the sex they held at birth.
Study author Dr. Johanna Olson has enrolled 101 transgender youth between the ages of 12 and 24 in the study, which aims to assess the effectiveness and safety of the methods used to address their gender dysphoria (where the gender one feels does not match the sex they hold).
The hormone discovery came while the physical and psychological conditions of the participants were established as a baseline. Male-to-female transsexual and female-to-male transsexual youth had the same hormone levels as non-trans men and women, respectively.
Among other findings, the study noted that the youth began feeling the discrepancies in their gender identity around the age of eight and told their families around age 17.
At least half of the participants reported suicidal feelings at some point, with a third having made an actual attempt at least once. This information, combined with how many of the participants were overweight, suggested to Dr. Olson that many transgender youth have poor coping mechanisms when it comes to handling dysphoria on their own.
Dr. Olson’s study will continue observing the youth as they undergo medical and therapeutic treatments to address their gender dysphoria and she intends to publish follow-up data as they are collected. She recommends that other medical centers with transgender patients should try to collect and publish their own data to further the currently limited amount of information available on baseline transgender characteristics.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Olson, J., et al., “Baseline Physiologic and Psychosocial Characteristics of Transgender Youth Seeking Care for Gender Dysphoria,” Journal of Adolescent Health 2015, doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.04.027.
McIntosh, J., “Transgender Children Do Not Have Hormone Imbalance, Study Finds,” Medical News Today web site, July 22, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297095.php.