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Gender Identity Questions Accepted by Teens and Parents/Guardians

Gender Identity Questions Accepted by Teens and Parents/GuardiansMost teens don’t mind being asked about their gender identity on doctor’s questionnaires, researchers have found. And their parents/guardians aren’t generally bothered by the questions, either.

The study took place in Kaiser Permanente network clinics in Northern California. Typically, the clinics asked patients to complete a “Teen Well Check Questionnaire” before seeing their doctor. For this study, two pilot clinics added questions about gender identity. The rest of the clinics used the standard questionnaire.

Specifically, the added questions were:

  • What is your gender? Teens could respond with female, male, transgender female, transgender male, non-binary/genderqueer, unsure/questioning, decline to answer, other, and don’t understand the question.
  • What sex were you assigned at birth? Possible responses included female, male, decline to answer, and other.
  • If your gender is different from your assigned sex at birth, have you discussed this with your parent(s)/guardian(s)? Response choices were yes, no, other, or don’t understand the question.

Between July 2018 and June 2019, 817 teens filled out the pilot questionnaire. Next, the researchers surveyed the teens, their parents or guardians, and their doctors to find out how they felt about the gender identity questions.

About 66% of the teens and 75% of the parents/guardians thought it was “important to screen for gender identity” at the clinic. Ninety-three percent of the healthcare providers agreed.

Less than 2% of the teens were confused or offended by the questions. And less than 3% of the parents/guardians considered the questions offensive.

However, just over a third of the providers and about 4% of the parents/guardians were concerned that the questions would interfere with the routine and timing of the wellness visit.

The findings might help healthcare providers identify transgender and gender-diverse teens and tailor their care appropriately, the authors said.

The Journal of Adolescent Health published the study in September 2020.


Journal of Adolescent Health

Lau, Josephine S., MD, MPH, et al.

“Screening for Gender Identity in Adolescent Well Visits: Is It Feasible and Acceptable?”

(Published: September 15, 2020)

Reuters Health Information via Medscape

Carroll, Linda

“Most Teens, Parents, Clinicians OK With Gender Identity Screening During Wellness Visits: Pilot Study”

(September 21, 2020)