Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
Contributors: Wilson, B.D.M., Choi, S.K., Herman, J.L., Becker, T.L., & Conron, K.J.
Topic: Inclusive Language and Culture, Mental Health/Health, Research Studies
Population Focus: LGBTQ Youth, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming
Gender nonconforming refers to people whose behaviors and appearance defy the dominant cultural and societal stereotypes of their gender. Gender nonconforming youth, including both highly gender nonconforming and androgynous subgroups, make up a significant segment of the adolescent population in California. The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) measured gender expression by asking every adolescent one question about how people viewed their physical expression of femininity and masculinity. It was found that 27 percent, or 796,000, of California’s youth, ages 12 to 17, report they are viewed by others as gender nonconforming at school. Further, gender nonconforming youth were more likely to be severely psychologically distressed compared to gender conforming youth, a factor associated with future levels of suicidality. This finding highlights the need to reduce known risk factors, such as bullying and bias, against gender nonconforming people.