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I've heard many times that studies show most gender-confused kids will eventually revert to "cis" if you leave them be instead of starting them down the medical-transition path, but I don't have a cite... and I'd like one to whip out in an argument :)

Does anyone know which study, or studies, I'm talking about? I seem to recall the stat for reverting to "cis" was on the order of 80%+.

I've heard many times that studies show most gender-confused kids will eventually revert to "cis" if you leave them be instead of starting them down the medical-transition path, but I don't have a cite... and I'd like one to whip out in an argument :) Does anyone know which study, or studies, I'm talking about? I seem to recall the stat for reverting to "cis" was on the order of 80%+.

8 comments

This excellent paper published in March 2022 by Stephen Levine MD and others gives a good overview:

There have been eleven research studies to date indicating a high rate of resolution of gender incongruence in children by late adolescence or young adulthood without medical interventions (Cantor, 2020; Ristori & Steensma, 2016; Singh et al., 2021).

An attempt has been made to discount the applicability of this research, suggesting that the studies were based on merely gender non-conforming, rather than truly gender-dysphoric, children (Temple Newhook et al., 2018). However, a reanalysis of the data prompted by this critique confirmed the initial finding:

Among children meeting the diagnostic criteria for “Gender Identity Disorder” in DSM-IV (currently “Gender Dysphoria in DSM-5), 67% were no longer gender-dysphoric as adults; the rate of natural resolution for gender dysphoria was 93% for children whose gender dysphoria was significant but subthreshold for the DSM diagnosis (Zucker, et al., 2018).

It should be noted that high resolution of childhood-onset gender dysphoria had been recorded before [the era when] the practice of social transition of young children was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Rafferty et al., 2018). It is possible that social transition will predispose a young person to persistence of transgender identity long-term (Zucker, 2020).

The information regarding the resolution of gender dysphoria among those with adolescent-onset gender dysphoria, which is currently the predominant presentation, is less clear. A growing body of evidence suggests that for many teens and young adults, a post-pubertal onset of transgender identification can be a transient phase of identity exploration, rather than a permanent identity, as evidenced by a growing number of young detransitioners (Entwistle, 2020; Littman, 2021; Vandenbussche, 2021). Previously, the rate of detransition and regret was reported to be very low, although these estimates suffered from significant limitations and were likely undercounting true regret (D’Angelo, 2018). However, in the last several years since gender-affirmative care has become popularized, the rate of detransition appears to be accelerating.

...given that regret may take up to 8-11 years to materialize (Dhejne, Öberg, Arver, & Landén, 2014; Wiepjes et al., 2018), many more detransitioners are likely to emerge in the coming years. Detransitioner research is still in its infancy, but two recently published studies examining detransitioner experiences report that detransitioners from the recently-transitioning cohorts feel they had been rushed to medical gender-affirmative interventions with irreversible effects, often without the benefit of appropriate, or in some instances any, psychologic exploration (Littman, 2021; Vandenbussche, 2021).

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2046221

[–] SecondSkin 7 points Edited

Transgender trend will have them listed and the Cass review interim report refers to them. The studies for resolving if watchful waiting is used, so not starting down the road of pbs etc (might also be no social transitioning either, because that has data to suggest it almost certainly leads to medical transitioning)

Laura Littman has detransioner studies. There’s a real limit to detransioner studies because so many universities were refusing to allow them. But given the overwhelming detransioner accounts of their experience on line and in msm, surveys and qualitative data is still highly important. Even if it isn’t on a larger scale yet.

[–] madderthanhell 11 points Edited

Important to distinguish between desistance and de-transition, the 80-90% stat refers to desisters: children who experience gender disphoria but are never medically "transitioned" and eventually become comfortable with or accepting of their sexed bodies. The point being: left alone, nearly all trans-identifying children will eventually desist from the belief that they are or should be the other sex.