WVU Study Measures Gender Diversity Among Appalachian Youth
More youth in rural Appalachia identify as something other than male or female than previously estimated.
A study conducted in part by West Virginia University found that about 7 percent of the young people surveyed identified as trans, nonbinary or some other gender identity not consistent with their sex assigned at birth.
The study, conducted with the University of Washington and Boise State University, attempted to fill in a large gap in data on gender diversity among rural youth.
“This is an area where we need to do more research,” said Kacie Kidd, a WVU School of Medicine researcher who co-authored the study. “We need to better understand how to support these young people, especially now that we are increasingly recognizing that they are here and would likely benefit from the support.”
Gender diverse youth are two to four times more likely to experience depression as their peers whose gender identity is consistent with their sex assigned at birth.
The findings, published Monday in JAMA pediatrics, were based on interviews with junior high and high school students.
A number of states, including West Virginia, have enacted laws that exclude transgender youth from school sports teams. LGBTQ rights groups are challenging those laws in federal court.