Study reveals 27% of Californian youth identify as gender non-conforming

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A new study of California’s teenage population has revealed that 27% of the group identify as gender nonconforming.

The UCLA study, which was carried out by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, sought to analyse mental health among gender nonconforming youth.

And the results show that the state of California, which is known for its progressive outlook on the LGBT community, is seeing school students shirk gender stereotypes in order to carve out their own identities.

Participants were quizzed on whether they think that how they thought people at school viewed their physical expressions of femininity and masculinity.

27%, or 796,000, of California’s youth, ages 12 to 17, report they are viewed by others as gender nonconforming at school, including 6.2 percent who are highly gender nonconforming and 20.8% who are androgynous.

“It’s possible California’s policy environment has made it safer for adolescents to be gender nonconforming,” said Tara Becker, a co-author and statistician for the health survey, which is conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

“But given events at the national level, we should by no means relax our stance. California can and should strive to be an ongoing model of acceptance and inclusion.”

The study also found that although gender nonconforming pupils do not statistically differ to their gender conforming counterparts in suicide rates or suicide attempts, gender nonconforming youth were more than twice as likely to have experienced psychological distress in the past year.