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Trans and Nonbinary Youth Are More Likely To Experience Sexual Violence, New Study Finds

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A new study, published by the JAMA Network (Journal of the American Medical Association), has found that nonbinary and trans youth are more likely to face sexual violence than their peers, but not more likely to be perpetrators. In this study, the researchers asked the question: “How do rates of experiencing and perpetrating sexual violence vary by gender identity, and what youth characteristics are associated with perpetration within gender identity categories?” They then looked at a cross-sectional study of 4193 youth aged 14 to 16 years.

The findings, in their words, “suggest that sexual violence prevention programs should address culturally asserted gender roles with cisgender boys and girls and that different target points may be more relevant for transgender boys and girls and nonbinary youths than for cisgender youths.”

Trans and nonbinary people have been turned into boogeymen by the political right wing as potential perpetrators of sexual violence, with the malicious weaponization of the idea that if you allow trans and nonbinary folks to use the bathroom of their choice, it will mean that somehow predators will come into the bathrooms as well. As if predators follow rules and would be stopped by gender signs on bathroom doors.

It is a context that the researchers for this study brought up:

To contextualize the current study, in 2021, more than 100 legislative bills were proposed in the US to prohibit health care for transgender individuals, restrict facility access based on sex assigned at birth, exclude transgender individuals from athletic activities, and place restrictions on identity documents, among other policies. This highlights not only the pervasive enacted stigma that gender minority youths face, but also the sensitive and unintentionally political research topic that SV perpetration represents. Public health research should promote equity and inclusion and reduce health disparities experienced by gender minority youths.

The study also highlighted how—shocker—toxic masculinity plays a huge role in what created rape attitudes:

findings for cisgender youths suggested that norms that perpetuate toxic masculinity were associated with SV perpetration: rape attitudes condoning boys’ perpetration and sexual dominance. These differences were not noted for transgender boys or girls or nonbinary youths. These findings suggest that prevention programs may need to address culturally asserted gender roles, particularly with cisgender boys and girls, but perhaps less so with transgender boys and girls and nonbinary youths, who may be actively contending with these gender norms or have already considered and rejected these stereotypes.

Pride month has already been a mess, but studies like this are important because we can use them to point out, with evidence, something we already know. Trans and nonbinary people are not some secret threat to your safety or your children’s safety. Using children and youth as a shield for transphobia only further creates an environment that allows gender minorities to be abused, mistreated, and silenced.

(featured image: Shutterstock)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.