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Female-to-male transgender youth: Gender identity developmental milestones

Arnold H. Grossman, PhD, ACSW, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University, 239 Greene Street - Suite 400, New York, NY 10003, 212-998-5615, arnold.grossman@nyu.edu, Anthony R. D'Augelli, PhD, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, 105Q White Building, State College, PA 16802, and Nicholas Salter, BS, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, 414 Psychology Building, Bowling Green, OH 43402.

Little research has been conducted about transgender youth, i.e., those youth whose gender identity is discordant with their assigned birth sex. Transgender youth violate cultural assumptions about masculinity and femininity. They start to do so publicly during adolescence, and they must deal with the reactions of family and peers, whose response often is negative. Considerable evidence exists about the developmental milestones of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, but no empirical research has been conducted among transgender youth. Anecdotal reports indicate there are gender identity developmental milestones such as feeling different from other youth, being considered a tomboy/sissy by one’s parents, and being told to stop acting like a tomboy/sissy by one’s parents. This presentation will report the findings of transgender youths’ gender identity developmental milestones, using a sample of 24 female-to-male (FtM) transgender youths, whose ages range from 15 to 21 (M = 19.5, SD = 1.6), and who are mostly Caucasian/White and non-Hispanic. They were recruited from a recreation and social service agency serving sexual minority youth and through a snowball sampling approach. Youth completed a questionnaire and participated in a structured interview. The purposes of the study were to investigate: 1) the gender identification and expression of FtM transgender youth; 2) the gender identity developmental milestones of the FtM transgender youth, and 3) the relationship between developmental gender identity milestones and parental responses, and youths’ fears and sources of support. The study’s findings will be reported in relation these purposes, and implications for intervention programs will be presented.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Youth, Gender

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Transgender Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA