Who are

It depends what “are” means. NBC News reports:

The number of young people who are gender-diverse — including transgender, nonbinary and genderqueer — may be significantly higher than previously thought, according to a new study.

That makes it sound as if “gender-diverse” refers to something real, solid, empirical, testable, when in fact “gender-diverse” is just a trendy way of labeling people who don’t follow every single convention about how female people and male people are supposed to behave differently from each other. Young John wears makeup? Young Susan has a buzzcut? Add them to the list!

Researchers in Pittsburgh found that nearly 1 in 10 students in over a dozen public high schools identified as gender-diverse — five times the current national estimates. Gender diversity refers to people whose gender identities or gender expressions differ from the sexes they were assigned at birth, according to the American Psychological Association.

Whoopdeedoo, I’m surprised it’s not 9 in 10. Note the “identified as” – this isn’t an item like carrying the sickle cell gene or having red hair, it’s an item about social roles and cultural norms and fads. 1 out 10 Pittsburgh high school students are nonconformist around gender – it doesn’t sound all that astonishing that way, does it.

In a report published this week in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the UCLA School of Medicine analyzed 3,168 student surveys culled from 13 Pittsburgh high schools. 

Why? What’s it got to do with public health or pediatrics or medicine? Not liking the conventions of gender isn’t a medical issue.

In all, 291 participants, or 9.2 percent, reported incongruities between their sexes assigned at birth and their experienced gender identities. Of those gender-diverse youths, about 30 percent expressed transmasculine identities and about 39 percent expressed transfeminine identities. People with nonbinary identities were about 31 percent of the total.

Cue more heavy breathing.

They tweaked the survey, see.

The 2017 edition, given to 118,803 students ages 14 to 18 from 10 states and nine large urban school districts, was the first and only one to date to include a question about gender identity, but it simply asked, “Do you identify as transgender?” and gave respondents the option to reply “yes,” “no” or “I’m not sure.”

Well that won’t do! It’s not nearly leading enough. You have to lead the witness if you want to get the desired answer.

Kidd and her colleagues added a two-part gender identity question in their survey: (1) “What is your sex (the sex you were assigned at birth, on your birth certificate)?” with options for “female” and “male,” and (2) “Which of the following best describes you (select all that apply)?” with the options “girl,” “boy,” “trans girl,” “trans boy,” “genderqueer,” “nonbinary” and “another identity.” 

There you go. Give the kids a bunch of ways to sound more interesting. The numbers will rocket up.

Although the data come from a single school district, the authors write, “the findings may approximate a less biased estimate of the prevalence of youth with gender-diverse identities.” 

Why is it of interest to medical people how gender-conforming high school students are?

The study was published as lawmakers across the U.S. are introducing a raft of measures to ban or limit gender-affirming care [off-label hormones and puberty blockers] for minors and restrict transgender students’ participation in school sports [restrict males from invading women’s sports].

Numerous leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend access to comprehensive, gender-affirming and developmentally appropriate care for trans and gender-diverse young people. 

But what if it’s not “care”? What if that’s the wrong word? What if it’s harm? Damage? Mutilation?

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