Way More Teenagers Identify As Transgender Than You'd Think

Photo: Steve Helber/AP Images.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration rescinded an Obama administration policy that protected the rights of trans students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity, a decision that would affect hundreds of thousands of trans teens in America.
According to an estimate from the Williams Institute, that decision could affect the rights of as many as 150,000 teens. The study estimates that one out of every 137 teens aged 13 to 17 would identify as transgender if survey takers asked. The estimate, as the New York Times points out, could help lawmakers across the country understand just how many people would be affected by their policies, such as the decision to roll back trans bathroom protections.
Jody L. Herman, a scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, told the New York Times that she and her fellow co-authors embarked on their research as a way to help those in power understand the populations they serve.
"We want to make sure that policy debates are informed by actual figures," she said.
The data also estimated that there are around 1.4 million trans adults in the United States.
In addition to being a timely source of data, the estimates are also important because they highlight a figure that typical demographic surveys often ignore. While the federal government does collect general information about the population, it rarely collects consistent information on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"We just don’t have that same level of information readily accessible," Sandy James, survey project manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told New York Times.
While we still lack an authoritative, large-scale study on teenagers and transgender identity, the estimate is a step in the right direction for trans acceptance and inclusivity.

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