Researchers at Princeton University began in 2013 to track 317 kids between ages 3 to 12 who socially transitioned. The results showed that five years after their initial social transition, 94% of the study participants were living as either trans girls or trans boys. The remaining youth no longer identified as binary transgender and 2.5% of this group came to identify with their birth sex.
The findings come amid legislative efforts to limit gender-affirming care for minors, which includes puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries. Some supporters of these efforts note trans youth are too young to know what their gender is and cite research that found that most trans youth come to identify with their birth sex later.
But Kristina Olsen, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychology at Princeton, told NBC the findings of her study suggest something different so far.
“With regard to this debate or discussion that’s going on, I think the critical piece is that we’re seeing the re-transitioning happening before the ages at which kids were beginning medical transition, at least so far in our data," Olsen said.
Olsen and her colleagues will follow the study participants for 20 years and will track life experiences that affect their mental health.