With Support from the Arcus Foundation, Study of Transgender Preschoolers Assesses Preferences and Identity
Gender may be the earliest identity and social category to emerge in development, research suggests, and acquiring knowledge about one's gender is considered a critical part of early childhood development. In one of the first examinations of early gender development among transgender preschoolers, a new study has found that these children were just as likely as nontransgender children to have preferences associated with their gender, and to have as strong and clear a sense of their gender identity.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and is published in the journal Child Development.
"An increasing number of transgender children--those who express a gender identity that is different from the sex they were born with--are transitioning socially, which means they use pronouns, names, and clothing associated with their identified gender in everyday life," notes Anne A. Fast, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington and the study's lead author. "In this study, we asked whether these children differed from their nontransgender peers on basic tasks related to gender development at an early age."
The study looked at three groups of children: 36 transgender 3- to 5-year-olds, 36 cisgender 3- to 5-year-olds (children whose gender identity and the sex they were assigned at birth are the same), and 24 siblings (also ages 3 to 5) of transgender or gender-nonconforming children. Children came from across the United States, primarily identified as female, were primarily White, and were from a range of economic backgrounds...