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Virtual Child Mental Health Forum - Childhood Gender Diversity


Childhood Gender Diversity

Presented by Kristina Olson, PhD

Director of the Human Diversity Lab and Professor of Psychology; Princeton University


Location: Virtually via Zoom

Summary: Announced on our day of birth or even months before, our sex and assumed gender affects our lives in countless ways. In this talk, I describe the lives of youth who, beginning early in development feel discomfort or altogether reject that initial categorization made at their births. Focusing primarily on transgender youth who have socially transitioned -- changing clothing, hairstyle, pronouns, and names – I’ll describe their early gender development. Initial findings suggest that binary transgender youth look remarkably similar to children who share their gender but who have been raised in line with that gender since birth. I’ll discuss how these findings speak to ongoing debates in the field about how gender develops and to larger sociocultural and political debates about gender diversity.

Target Audience: Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, child neurologists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health clinicians and researchers, and students and trainees.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the latest research on transgender and other gender diverse children.
  2. Know more about family decision-making regarding childhood gender diversity.