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Researchers studied the mental health of 73 trans kids. This is what they found.

A new study shows why it's critical we support our transgender youth.

"Everything was fantastic."

That's how Evie Priestman's mother felt about her son's experience at summer camp as a middle schooler. Evie, a transgender boy, had decided to tell his fellow campers about his gender identity on the very last day, and it went over smoothly.

"I have always had a supportive family and felt accepted," Evie told NBC News years later, noting his community is diverse and welcoming.


A first-of-its kind study examined the mental health of young children and preteens whose parents supported their transitions.

And the results are, honestly, not all that surprising.

Photo by Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images.

The researchers found that trans kids who've been supported by their loved ones are doing pretty darn well.

Researchers out of the University of Washington studied 73 transgender kids and 73 cisgender (non-transgender) kids, ages 3 to 12, by asking parents a series of questions on their children's mental health.

They found that between both groups, rates of depression were equal among trans kids who are supported by their family and their cisgender peers, and rates of anxiety were only "a smidge higher" among the trans youth.

Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images.

"The thinking has always been that kids who are not acting gender-stereotypically are basically destined to have mental health problems," Kristina Olson, lead author of the study, told NBC. "In our study, that's not the case."

"More families are allowing their transgender children to live and present to others as their gender identity. This is the first study to examine mental health in these children, finding that they have low levels of anxiety and depression."
— "
Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities," published in Pediatrics

The results show that loving parents and an accepting environment make a profound difference on a trans child's mental health.

And that no, trans kids don't have mental health issues by default. (I'd guess it's probably the relentless transphobic messages our society sends them that do most of the damage.)

Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images.

"Transgender individuals have been found to have highly elevated rates of anxiety and depression, but little is known about the mental health of transgender children whose identities are affirmed and supported by their families," the study explains, noting that mental health disorders are "not inevitable within this group."

Although the study can't prove parental acceptance results in improved outcomes for trans children, it "certainly suggests that family support is linked to better mental health."

The findings build on previous research that found a correlation between family acceptance and whether a trans person had attempted suicide.

The study's findings are important because they affirm the idea that trans kids especially need our love and acceptance.

Seeing the rampant transphobia throughout our culture, it's no wonder trans youth live with higher rates of depression, are more likely to be suicidal, and face alarmingly high levels of homelessness (spurred by parental rejection).

This study shows that this doesn't have to be the case.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Because, really, at the end of the day, shouldn't every kid deserve to be accepted as themselves?

"For me and any other trans individual, I feel like the only thing that is changing about yourself is the pronoun and the way I look," Evie said. "Your personality doesn't change. You are still the same person."

And a person that deserves the same love and respect as anyone else.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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