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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.

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

"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.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


Last Christmas, Alex got exactly what he always wanted: a new "robo" arm.

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