Teenagers and gender identity

Teenagers and gender identity: the evidence base

A trickle of teenagers, and especially girls, identifying out of their sex has become a torrent in recent years. Our new publication, part one of a series of three, is aimed at the parents of those teenagers.

The authors, Matilda Gosling and Stella O’Malley, combine research expertise with practical professional knowledge. Matilda Gosling is a social researcher and writer specialising in research on issues affecting children and young people. She has worked for governments, charities, foundations and private sector organisations internationally, and has overseen field research in more than 60 countries. Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist, best-selling author, public speaker and parent with many years’ experience working in counselling and psychotherapy. She is the director of Genspect and a clinical advisor in the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine. She co-founded and hosts the podcast Gender: A Wider Lens.

The authors write today in The Critic about advice, based on evidence, for parents of children with gender distress. In their report for Sex Matters, they distil the existing research and outline what is known about those who develop gender dysphoria as older children or teenagers.

Part one of the series looks at why children might start to question their gender.

Part two will look at what happens in the longer term to children who socially or medically transition, and those who are supported in other ways.

Part three will make practical suggestions to help these children based on research, if it exists, and expert advice, if it does not. 

Alongside this new series, we have put together a page of resources for parents – support groups, practical advice, schools guidance, and background reading.