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CDC: Percentage of teens who identify as transgender has more than doubled since 2014


Nearly 2 percent of high school students say they identify as transgender, according to new study

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The percentage of high school teens who identify as transgender has more than doubled since 2014, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Thursday.

The latest survey found that nearly 2 percent of high school students identify as transgender. In 2014, an estimated .7 percent or about 150,000 teens, ages 13 to 17, considered themselves transgender, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles report released two years ago.

While some parents may find this information alarming, Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist in Rockville, California, recently told The Federalist that 80 to 95 percent of the adolescents with gender dysphoria outgrow it naturally.

What are the details?

The report showed that 1.8 percent of high school students identified as transgender and 35 percent had attempted suicide in the past year. Of those who identify as transgender, 27 percent felt unsafe at school, as well as going to and/or from school, and about a third said they are bullied at school.

The study used data from the agency's biannual Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance report that asked optional transgender-related questions to 131,901 students surveyed in 10 states and nine urban school districts.

The findings are consistent with previous smaller clinical and web-based studies, according to the report.

Why is there such a high rate of transgender students?

Last summer, Lisa Littman, an assistant professor at Brown University, published a study in PLOS One titled, "Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports," which suggested that social and peer contagion could play a role in the increased rate of gender dysphoria.

It identified rapid-onset gender dysphoria as gender dysphoria that suddenly appears around the time of puberty in young people who had not previously met the criteria for gender dysphoria in childhood.

What else?

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published a review article urging doctors to prescribe hormone blockers such as Lupron to so-called "trans kids" as young as 10 years old.

Hormone blockers that suppress puberty "allow youth time to explore their gender identity and expression without having to worry about ongoing pubertal changes and development of secondary sexual characteristics that may be psychologically disturbing and undesired," the report said.

But there's a lot of debate over the safety and ethics of the "off-label" use of hormone therapy in children. Such drugs can have serious side effects that are often irreversible.

Also, nearly 100 percent of those who are treated with hormone blockers move forward with transitioning to their preferred identity, according to Laidlaw.

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