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Fewer Biological Boys Referred to Gender Identity Clinic

The study discussed the sex ratios of children referred to the Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS), a gender identity clinic in London, United Kingdom. Researchers wanted to know whether more birth-assigned boys or birth-assigned girls were referred to the GIDS and how old they were when referred.

They identified 1,215 children under the age of 12 who had been referred to the GIDS between 2000 and 2017. During that time, 56% of the referred children were biological boys and 44% were biological girls. The children’s average ages at referral were as 9 and 10, respectively.

The researchers questioned whether the numbers of referred biological boys and biological girls changed over the years. So they compared two time periods: 2000-2006 and 2007-2017.

During the first period, 72% of the children were biological boys, but during the second period, the figure decreased to 55%.

The researchers weren’t sure why such a shift occurred. One possible reason, they said, is that there might be “less stigma for birth-assigned girls who are behaviorally masculine compared to birth-assigned boys who are behaviorally feminine, which makes it easier to “come out” as transgender and to seek out mental health care and biomedical treatment.”

The timing of puberty might also be involved, they explained. Since biological girls tend to go through puberty earlier than biological boys, they might become more aware of gender identity before boys do.

For more information about gender dysphoria in children and adolescents, please see the following links:

Gender Dysphoria in Children

Transgender Adolescents and Body Changes

Transgender Youth Need Support

Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth Report Poorer Health

Self-Injury Common Among Transgender Youth


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

de Graaf, Nastasja M. MSc, et al.

“Evidence for a Change in the Sex Ratio of Children Referred for Gender Dysphoria: Data From the Gender Identity Development Service in London (2000–2017)”
(Full-text. Published: September 5, 2018)

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