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The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that 27 percent of California youth ages 12 to 17 (about 796,000 people) are gender nonconforming in the ways they dress or act. More than 6.2 participants said they are “highly gender non-conforming,” and 20.8 said they are “androgynous,” meaning equally feminine and masculine.
The research team polled nearly 3 million teenagers with this question: “A person’s appearance, style, dress, or the way they walk or talk may affect people describe them. How do you think people at school would describe you?”
There were six possible answers: very feminine, mostly feminine, equally feminine and masculine, mostly masculine or very masculine.
The study also found that gender nonconforming youth were significantly more likely to report psychological distress and suicidal thoughts and attempts, twice as much as the gender-conforming youth who were surveyed.
“We must focus on continuing to reduce known risk factors, such as bullying and bias against gender non-conforming people,” the authors of the study wrote.
Brianna Stone is a reporter and digital producer. Her work has been published by the Austin American-Statesman, the Daily Dot, and USA Today.