Are Three Percent of Minnesota Youths Transgender? Of Course Not

“Transgenderism” is the hot craze on the Left. A group that didn’t exist (or wasn’t known to exist) not many years ago is now presented as the key locus of oppression in American society. For those of us who have never encountered a transgender person, this is a head-scratcher.

You can count on the Left to marshal bogus social science in support of its latest cause. Sure enough, today’s Star Tribune features this shocking headline: “Almost 3 percent of Minnesota teens identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.” The Strib treats this finding, based on a survey of Minnesota 9th and 11th graders, as though it reveals the existence of a large number of transgender teenagers:

For the first time, researchers have a clearer picture about the number of high schoolers in Minnesota who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

“It is much higher than what I was expecting,” said the study’s lead author, Marla Eisenberg, of the 2.7 percent of students statewide who say they are transgender or gender nonconforming.

(The term “gender nonconforming” refers to those who do not identify as strictly male or female.)

But wait! That isn’t the question the teenagers were asked:

In all, the findings reflect 81,855 responses from ninth- and 11th-graders who completed the survey in 2016. It asked this question for the first time: “Do you consider yourself transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid or unsure about your gender identity?”

A student who considers himself or herself gay, or fears that he or she might be gay, most likely would answer that question Yes, in response to the terms “genderqueer,” “gender fluid” or “unsure about your gender identity.” And there is a large body of data suggesting that around 2 to 3 percent of the population is gay.

So from this survey, where 2.7% answered Yes, we can’t tell how many Minnesota students think they are transgender, or, for that matter, whether any of them do.

One thing the survey does show is that teenagers who are unsure about matters relating to sexuality tend to be troubled in other ways:

The university study, published this month in the Journal of Adolescent Health, also revealed disparities in mental health and substance abuse between transgender and gender nonconforming students and the rest of the high school population.

Nearly two-thirds of the transgender and gender nonconforming students surveyed said they had experienced suicidal thoughts. That rate is three times higher than their peers.

The study on which the Strib article is based also found that students who are suffering economic hardship, who are nonwhite, or who are female are much more likely to answer Yes to the “transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid or unsure about your gender identity” question.

These kids need help. But the last thing they need is for teachers and others in authority to sacrifice them to a trendy political cause by encouraging them to think of themselves as “transgender.”