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The Number of Transgender Diagnoses in Kids Exploded Last Year. Why?

New diagnoses of gender dysphoria in minors ballooned 70% between 2020 and 2021, according to a new analysis.

SO WHAT

The meaning of the findings depends on what you think it means when a boy says he’s a girl and vice versa.

THE NUMBERS

More than 42,000 U.S. minors received a first diagnosis of gender dysphoria last year — nearly triple the number in 2017 — per the analysis of medical records by health technology company Komodo Health.

“Overall, the analysis found that at least 121,882 children ages 6 to 17 were diagnosed with gender dysphoria from 2017 through 2021,” Reuters reported Wednesday based on Komodo Health’s findings, which the news agency commissioned.

  • “Gender dysphoria is defined as the distress caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and the one assigned to them at birth.”

THE BIG PICTURE

A diagnosis of gender dysphoria is often, but not always, an initial form of “gender-affirming care” for minors — which Komodo found was rare but increasingly common in various forms from 2017 to 2021.

  • PUBERTY BLOCKERS: 633 in 2017; 1,390 in 2021.
  • HORMONE THERAPY: 1,905 in 2017; 4,231 in 2021.
  • “TOP SURGERIES”: 238 in 2017; 282 in 2021.
  • Meanwhile, Komodo recorded 56 genital surgeries 2019-2021 on minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

The numbers are “likely an undercount because they didn’t include treatment that wasn’t covered by insurance and were limited to pediatric patients with a gender dysphoria diagnosis. Practitioners may not log this diagnosis when prescribing treatment,” Reuters reported.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

LGBT advocates have celebrated a recent surge in transgender identification among children and adults as as a sign of greater social acceptance.

  • But critics have warned that at least some of the increasing prevalence among young people is due to “social contagion,” in which an idea, preference, behavior or identity spreads quickly within groups.
  • Erica Anderson, a transgender psychologist who works with transgender teens, has warned that many doctors are not following the standard of care, including thorough psychological screening.
  • “I have parents tell me every week that such recommended evaluations of children are not being done. Additionally, few medical professionals are recognizing what may be a new cohort of teenagers, gender questioning to be sure, but affected by factors never before seen. These factors include isolation due to the pandemic and remote schooling, excess use of social media, and influence from nonprofessional peers with a financial incentive to collect followers,” Erica Anderson wrote in a May op-ed for the Daily Mail.
  • “Simply assuming that the increased numbers of gender questioning adolescents can be accounted for by greater acceptance of sexual and gender minority identities may be wrong.”

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