1 in 4 California Youth is Gender Nonconformist: Study

One in four children in California defy the dominant cultural and societal stereotypes of his or her gender to peers, according to a study released this week.

Close to 800,000 or 27 percent of California’s children, ages 12 to 17, report they are viewed by others as gender nonconforming at school.

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.

“The data shows 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.

According to the results, 6.2 percent of those who responded consider themselves highly gender nonconforming. More than 20 percent consider themselves androgynous.

Researchers say the study also suggests these children and teenagers may experience higher levels of psychological distress than their peers but do not differ when it comes to rates of lifetime suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

One of the study’s co-authors suggested the state’s ban on bullying and discrimination against gender nonconforming people in schools and public accommodations may make teenagers feel safer to be gender nonconforming.

The Williams Institute is focused on issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

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