In preadolescents, minority sexual orientation or gender identity rates are quite low

Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • About 1% of US children ages 9-10 self-identify as having minority sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Both children and parents say they experience little school or family stress.

Why this matters

  • People who self-identify with a gender or sexual orientation minority tend to have increased physical and mental health problems.
  • Data are from the  Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study.

Key results

  • Sexuality findings:
    • 0.86% identified as gay or bisexual.
    • 23.8% did not understand the sexual orientation question.
    • 6.7% of parents thought their child might be homosexual.
  • Gender identity findings:
    • 0.4% identified as transgender.
    • 40.2% did not understand this question.
    • 1.2% of parents thought their child might self-report as transgender.
  • A 2-step process identified 0.15% of children as reporting a current gender differing from sex assigned at birth.
  • Per children, orientation or gender identity posed no school or family issues.
  • Some parents felt sexual orientation (7.0%) or gender identity (15.3%) did pose issues.

Study design

  • ABCD Study focuses on self-identification, identity-related stress. 
  • Data collection began September 1, 2016, with annual releases in February.
  • Parents and children respond to questions about sexuality, gender identity.
  • Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Limitations

  • No assessment of association of sexuality/gender identity and health indicators.