Transgender teens — those whose gender identity does not align with their biological sex at birth — now represent almost 2 percent of U.S. high school students, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That conclusion stems from the agency’s analysis of data based on a sample of 131,901 public school students in grades nine through 12, who were asked a variety of questions about gender identity and personal health and safety issues.
The data also showed that transgender teens are more likely to have been victims of violence than their non-transgender peers. For instance, about 24 percent of transgender teens said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon at school, compared with 6 percent of boys and 4 percent of girls who were not transgender. About 27 percent of transgender teens felt unsafe at school or while traveling to and from school, vs. 5 percent of non-transgender boys and 7 percent of girls. Also, more transgender teens said they had experienced sexual dating violence, meaning they had been forced by someone they were dating to do sexual things they did not want to do: 26 percent of transgender teens vs. 3 percent of non-transgender boys and 4 percent of non-transgender girls.
The prevalence of attempted suicide also was found to be higher among transgender teens, with 35 percent reported having tried to commit suicide in the past year, compared with 5 percent of non-transgender boys and 9 percent of non-transgender girls. Describing the risks transgender teens face as “serious,” the authors of the CDC report noted that steps should be taken to create safe learning environments and provide access to competent mental-health care and that “continued research into the health of transgender youths and development of effective intervention strategies are warranted.”