September 20, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

UCLA Study: 27% of Young Californians Viewed as “Gender Nonconforming”

A new study by UCLA finds that 27 percent, or 796,000, of Californians ages 12 to 17 report they are viewed by others as gender nonconforming at school by their peers.

The study also assessed differences in mental health among gender nonconforming youth and gender conforming youth in the state, and found no significant difference in the rates of lifetime suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts between gender nonconforming youth and their gender-conforming peers. However, gender nonconforming youth were more than twice as likely to have experienced psychological distress in the past year.

“The data show that more than one in four California youth express their gender in ways that go against the dominant stereotypes,” said lead author Bianca D.M. Wilson, the Rabbi Barbara Zacky Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “However, the heightened psychological distress we see among gender nonconforming youth indicates that we must continue to educate parents, schools and communities on the mental health needs of these young people and reduce known risk factors, such as bullying and bias.”

The study, released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, analyzed data collected from nearly 1,600 California households in the 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey. It is the first time this survey has included questions about gender expression among teens.

The study defined “gender nonconforming” as “people whose behaviors and appearance defy the dominant cultural and societal stereotypes of their gender.” The health interview survey measured gender expression by asking adolescents how they thought people at school viewed their physical expressions of femininity and masculinity. Youth who reported that people at school saw them as equally masculine and feminine were categorized as “androgynous.” Girls who thought they were seen as mostly or very masculine and boys who thought they were seen as mostly or very feminine were categorized as “highly gender nonconforming.”

The finding that gender nonconforming youth in California do not have higher rates of suicide differs from the findings of some previous research. The study co-authors suggest that the variation in findings may be due to sample-size limitations of this study or possibly to the state’s supportive policies for gender nonconforming people. California is one of several states that expressly prohibit bullying and discrimination against gender nonconforming people in schools and public accommodations, among other arenas.

“It’s possible California’s policy environment has made it safer for adolescents to be gender nonconforming,” said Tara Becker, a co-author and statistician for the health survey, which is conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “But given events at the national level, we should by no means relax our stance. California can and should strive to be an ongoing model of acceptance and inclusion.”

Related Posts

VIDEO: Grand Opening of Los Angeles LGBT Center’s New Campus in South LA

January 15, 2020

January 15, 2020

‘Center South’ will provide HIV testing; access to PrEP and PEP services; housing case management; mental health services; a computer lab; and...

Here for the Queerness of “Sex Education”

February 10, 2019

February 10, 2019

This British TV show was picked up by Netflix for a second season. Audiences stateside and across the pond rejoiced...

Ending Partner Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

November 15, 2018

November 15, 2018

Efforts to address Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) tends to focus on heterosexual women, despite IPV happening at similar or higher...

LGBTQ+ Scholarship Program Provides Future and Opportunity to Queer Students

October 26, 2018

October 26, 2018

The application process for the largest national LGBTQ+ scholarship program is opening next week. On average, LGBTQ students accrue $16,000 more debt...

A War on Cross-Dressing: Los Angeles’ Anti-Masquerading Ordinance of 1889 Targeted the Growing Queer Population of Los Angeles

October 15, 2018

October 15, 2018

A little over a hundred years after the City of Los Angeles was founded, the Anti-Masquerading Ordinance of 1889 was...

The Founding Folk of L.A. Were LGBTQ-Friendly, Celebrated “Two-Spirited” Tribe Members

October 10, 2018

October 10, 2018

LGBTQ+ history in Los Angeles begins well before Los Angeles even existed. Before colonial settlers took over in 1781, L.A....

World Sexual Health Day Here for LGBTQ+ Community

September 5, 2018

September 5, 2018

Even when it seems like the rest of the world is not. Sexual health and access to necessary medical help...

Stranger Fundraises to Help Bullied Transgender 12-Year-Old and Family Move Closer to Relatives, Resources

August 21, 2018

August 21, 2018

By Elijah Root-Sanchez, Contributing Writer A Go Fund Me page that was made for the family of 12-year-old Maddie, who...

OPEN LETTER: To the Prime Minister of Armenia on the Welfare of the LGBTQ+ Community

August 16, 2018

August 16, 2018

Prime Minister Pashinyan, I sent a letter to several members of your staff a few weeks ago, prior to visiting...

Embracing a Challenge at Stratford School

August 10, 2018

August 10, 2018

At Stratford School, high expectations yield extraordinary results. Our advanced yet intentionally balanced curriculum starts as early as Preschool to...

LAUSD Gets Schooled on LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

August 8, 2018

August 8, 2018

A new LAUSD resolution to increase support for LGBTQ+ students and families will be implemented this school year. With the...

Joe Biden Launches Campaign for LGBTQ+ Equality

August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Joe Biden’s launch of “As You Are: A Family and Community Acceptance Campaign” on Tuesday gives the LGBTQ+ youth and...

Tuition Hike for Non-Resident UC Students

March 22, 2018

March 22, 2018 15

The UC Board of Regents approved the raise in a 12-3 vote.

The Point Foundation To Offer Community College Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Students

February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 203

LGBTQ+ students can apply to the Point Foundation for aid starting March 1.

Step In, Speak Up! Gives Adults the Tools to Combat LGBTQ+ Teen Bullying in Schools

October 29, 2017

October 29, 2017 31

In Los Angeles, teen bullying targeting gay, lesbian, and queer students has been on the rise for the past few years. A new program helps to arm teachers and counselors with the means to curtail teen bullying.