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Dutch Study: Most Children Outgrow Gender Confusion

A new study from the University of Groningen has found that the majority of children who wished to belong to the opposite sex became comfortable with their biological sex by early adulthood – which means transgenderism among youth could be nothing more than a fad.

According to the study, which was conducted over the course of 15 years and tracked 2,772 participants between the ages of 11 to 26, of the 11 percent of youngsters (one in 10) who reported a desire to be the opposite sex in the early years of the study, only four percent still felt that way by the time they reached young adulthood (one in 25).

The report also found that those participants whose gender discontent fluctuated over time were also more likely to report lower feelings of self-worth and to have more behavioral and emotional problems.

The report found that gender non-contentedness is most common around the age of 11 and decreases with age.

“Girls were more likely than boys to report gender non-contentedness at ages 13 and 16,” the study found. “Girls also had higher odds than boys to have an increasing trajectory of gender non-contentedness throughout adolescence.”

Researchers cited several reasons why females may be more prone to continue to feel the need to transition to males.

“A potential explanation offered in the literature for the current sex ratio in referral rates is that there might be less stigmatization of (birth-assigned) girls who behave masculine than boys who behave feminine, making it easier for girls to articulate their opposite sex wish,” the study reports.

“Additionally, a potential explanation for the higher prevalence of gender non-contentedness in girls than in boys in the current sample could be that girls more often believe that being a boy would come with certain advantages than the other way around.”

Commenting on the study, Mary Rice Hasson, the director of the Person and Identity Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told the Catholic News Agency that the study confirms “what most parents know intuitively.”

“A child who experiences discontent about his or her developing body, or the prospect of maturing into a woman or man, is overwhelmingly likely to outgrow those feelings, without intervention.”

The study has certainly thrown much needed clarity on the hotly debated topic of prescribing puberty blocking drugs and offering sex change surgery to children, interventions which come with serious health risks and lifelong consequences.

“Unfortunately, what our children are not being given today is time — time to experience and outgrow the natural (sometimes painful) stages of pubertal growth, along with the reassurance that, with time, they will eventually feel comfortable in their own skin,” Hasson said. “Instead, gender clinicians and counselors convince parents that their children are in crisis and need puberty blockers or other hormonal interventions. It’s not true. What they really need is reassurance and time to mature.”

Patrick Brown, a fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center who was not involved in the research agrees.

“This study provides even more reason to be skeptical towards aggressive steps to facilitate gender transition in childhood and adolescence,” he told the Daily Mail. “The fact that rates of satisfaction are lower even just a few years later suggests that for the vast majority of people, prudence and caution, rather than a rush towards permanent surgeries or hormone therapies, will be the best approach for teenagers struggling to make sense of the world and their place in it.”

He added: “As such, policies that prohibit gender transition for minors make a great deal of sense.”

At present, 24 states have restrictions on gender transition prescriptions and procedures for children. Of that number, 16 states are currently facing lawsuits challenging these limitations.

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