Statistics for transgender children

Most commonly, parents wonder what the statistics are surrounding transgender or non-conforming teenagers. Pediatrician and trans-youth expert Johanna Olson assures parents are not alone, since there are not clear numerical summaries.
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Statistics for transgender children

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Probably, this is one of the most common questions I get: “How common is this? How many people are born with this particular issue, of an incongruence between their gender identity and assigned birth gender.” I think families feel very alone when this happens to them. If they are experiencing this with their child. There are not a lot of references. I always tell them, “Oh. You didn’t read the chapter in ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ about having a gender non-conforming child?” Just kidding, because there isn’t that chapter in the book, and so people feel very isolated when they are going through this with their child. The reality is that we don’t have good statistics. We don’t have a census question, or set of questions about people in the household who may have gender incongruence. And the numbers really vary widely. For example, the numbers that are derived from Western clinics about the prevalence of this, say about 1 in 30K male-bodied people have a female gender identity and one in 100K female-bodied people have a male gender identity. But these statistics come from clinics where people are seeking care for- They are specifically seeking sexual reassignment surgeries, and for many reasons, those are very low numbers, and they probably very inaccurately reflect how often this happens. When you look at numbers from the southeast, for example, they are as high as 1 in 100, in some studies. So the answer is, “We really don’t know how often this happens but for sure, you’re not alone, and there are other families experiencing this with their children.”

Most commonly, parents wonder what the statistics are surrounding transgender or non-conforming teenagers. Pediatrician and trans-youth expert Johanna Olson assures parents are not alone, since there are not clear numerical summaries.

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Johanna Olson, MD

Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Health and Development, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Johanna Olson, MD is a pediatrician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Medical Director of the hospital’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development.  She specializes in the care of transgender youth, gender variant children, youth with HIV, and chronic pain. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She has appeared on ABC's 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, CNN, Dateline NBC and The Doctors to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth.

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