How Does Social Transition Affect Trans Youth? This Psychologist Started a 20-Year Study to Find Out.

Most transgender research focuses on adults, but Kristina Olson wants to see how social transition affects kids.

Researchers have long studied transgender people — those who don’t identify as the gender that aligns with their biologically determined sex at birth. But until recently, most of the research has focused on adults. Kristina Olson, a psychologist at the University of Washington, is helping to change that.

Since 2013, she’s spearheaded the TransYouth Project, a 20-year study following kids who have socially transitioned, a process that effectively transforms them into their self-identified gender. This often includes using pronouns that correspond to their identified gender, and altering fashion and hairstyles to match as well. More than 300 children from the U.S. and Canada are participating, all between the ages of 3 and 12 when they started the study.

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