Childrearing

Gender-Variant Kids More Likely To Get The Sh*t Beat Out Of Them

By  | 

gender-variant kidsNewsflash from CNN but it turns out that gender-variant kids — so boys and girls that stray from gender stereotypes — are more likely to be targets of physical abuse by peers and other family members. A study published in Pediatrics revealed that little girls who perhaps prefer to dress like boys à la Shiloh Jolie-Pitt or boys who perhaps have a penchant for nail polish are more likely to be smacked around on a daily basis. Tell me something I don’t know.

Mind you this abuse isn’t just limited to transgender kids whose gender identity does not match their biological sex. We’re talking all kids who for whatever reason (including personal preferences or even sexuality) exhibit interests outside the designated construct of “what boys should be” and “what girls should be.” These flimsy constructs, as rigorously upheld by our culture, are getting our kids beat up both on the playground and even in their homes.

Gender-variant behavior in children is pretty common as well, with one in 10 kids in the United States demonstrating characteristics that stray from gender norms, CNN reports. The study, which consisted of almost 9,000 respondents, asked children under the age of 11 years old about their favorite toys, games, media characters they liked, roles they assumed while playing, as well as feelings of femininity and masculinity. The study then surveyed the kids after they reached adulthood to check for abuse of all stripes: sexual, physical, emotional, and signs of PTSD.

S. Bryn Austin, an author of the study, told CNN that the results revealed “very clear patterns” between those who wound up getting abused and those who exhibited gender nonconformity as a kid. The gender-variant children surveyed were also more likely to develop PTSD by their early 20s due to abuse. Austin expressed concern for the health and well-being of these gender-variant kids given these findings, telling the outlet:

“We are concerned about the health and risk of abuse and harassment targeting children who behave in a way, or express their gender in a way that’s not typical,” said Austin, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard School of Public Health. “We know there’s a lot of bias about how girls and boys are supposed to behave.”

Austin also raised the possibility of increased precautions to help these kids. Yet with nearly half of elementary school kids hearing homophobic language — coupled with little teacher intervention — the message remains that harboring resentment towards these gender-variant kids is completely permissible.

(photo: Shutterstock)