The average age at which people are diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” has dropped from 31 to 26 as more transgender children seek help, a study shows.
Researchers analyzed the medical records of 43 million patients ages four to 65 and found that the number with a diagnosis has “increased significantly” in recent years.
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder is described by the NHS as a feeling of unease that a person may have because of a discrepancy between their biological sex and their gender identity.
The new global study found that 155 people in 100,000 were diagnosed with the condition between 2017 and 2021, with biological women likely to be identified younger.
Researchers say the rise in prevalence over this period may be due to greater social acceptance and a wider range of specialist gender clinics, such as the controversial Gender Identity Service for children at London’s Tavistock Centre.
This graph shows the total number of male-to-female and female-to-male gender transformations performed in the NHS in England since 2000
Lead author Dr. Ching-Fang Sun, of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, said: “Year over year, the data reflected an overall increase in the prevalence of diagnosis, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood.”
The average age of being diagnosed with gender dysphoria dropped from 31 in 2017 to 26 in 2021, according to findings published in the journal General Psychiatry.
However, the mean age was 27 for people whose biological sex was female at birth and 30 for those whose biological sex was male at birth.
The estimated prevalence of gender dysphoria among people of female birth sex rose sharply at age 11, peaked between ages 17 and 19, and then dropped below that of males of male birth sex at age 22.
For those whose biological sex is male at birth, the estimated prevalence of gender dysphoria began to increase at age 13, peaked at age 23, and then gradually declined.
The paper said rising numbers of patients with gender dysphoria could be due to “increased availability of specialist gender clinics” and the lower age at diagnosis “suggests an increasing gender-noncongruent youth population.”
The researchers wrote: ‘The phenomenon may be related to greater accessibility of gender care and a gender-minority-friendly social context.
‘The development of gender identity relies heavily on social processes, including exploring and experimenting with external feedback.
The number of male to female procedures performed in the NHS vastly dwarfs the number of female to male operations
This diagram shows a method surgeons use to create a new penis, which involves harvesting skin and blood vessels from another part of the body, such as the forearm, and attaching it to the groin. After a recovery period, the medics then connect it to the bladder, which allows the patient to urinate from the penis and also form a new scrotum. The final stage is adding an implant that allows the patient to get an erection. The operation can be offered to both trans patients as part of gender reassignment surgery and to biological men whose genitals have been damaged
“There is now increasing acceptance of gender-neutral pronouns and gender-non-congruent chosen names.
Youth from gender minorities no longer receive consistently toxic feedback about their identity.
In addition, digital platforms such as video games provide a ‘transitional playground’ where young people can explore their identity with more freedom and less worry compared to traditional social situations.
‘The concept of gender is a cultural construct rather than a genetic fact.
“GD’s lowered median age suggests less oppression of gender minority youth and greater awareness of gender diversity.”
The study, which drew 80 percent of patients from the US, noted that “questions have been raised about the increasing number of young people seeking professional care for gender dysphoria, especially adolescent women assigned at birth.”
However, the researchers said current studies of gender dysphoria are “significantly limited by small sample sizes, short follow-up periods, or outdated datasets,” and they wanted to “uniquely illustrate an updated epidemiological trend by providing an estimated prevalence.” of GD and investigate how sex and age assigned at birth influence GD’.
New gender clinics are due to open in England later this year following the announcement in July 2022 that London’s Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) clinic would close after concerns about rising demand, long waiting times for assessments and ‘considerable external scrutiny’ surrounding its approach and capacity.
This month, the NHS-confirmed puberty blockers will not be routinely offered to children treated at the new regional gender identity clinics, and the health service here has previously acknowledged there is a “lack of clinical consensus and polarized opinion on what is the best model of care”. for children’. and young people who experience gender incongruity and dysphoria should be’.
Sajid Javid said he felt compelled to close the transgender clinic in Tavistock when he was health minister because it was “bordering on the ideological” and failing children.
He took action after hearing the findings of a government-commissioned study in the agency conducted by Dr Hilary Cass, a senior pediatrician.