Sexuality Center Director: Majority of Transgender Children Outgrow Those Feelings


Toronto Sexuality Center Director Dr. James Cantor discussed 12 studies that concluded that a majority of transgender children outgrow those feelings.

“There are 12 such studies in all, and they all came to the very same conclusion: the majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older,” he wrote.

Cantor is a clinical psychologist and sexual behavior scientist who runs a blog called “Sexology Today!” that “brings to readers new research findings in the fascinating science of sex, translating the often technical language of science into plain-language summaries.”

In one such post in December, he broke down the studies that were criticized by activists in The National Posts‘ coverage of why CBC cancelled a BBC documentary on transgender children.

“One study of Dutch children, in particular, assumed that subjects had ‘desisted’ purely because they stopped showing up to a gender identity clinic,” one criticism in The Posts’ article read.

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Cantor said that the study appeared to be in reference to a study called “Factors associated with desistence and persistence of childhood gender dysphoria: a quantitative follow-up study” done by T.D. Steensma, J.K. McGuire, B.P.C. Kreukels, A.J. Beekman and P.T. Cohen-Kettenis in 2013.

In this study, the researchers followed up with 127 transgender kids: 47 were still transgender, 56 were no longer transgender and 24 did not respond to the invitation to participate in the study.

The findings of the research reported that 63 percent of the children desisted, 80 of the 127 children.

In the Netherlands, medical services for transition are free, and only one clinic provides those services, so the researchers were able to confirm the 24 who did not respond did not follow through with an actual transition. When the unknown 24 are not included in the results, 54 percent of the cases ceased to be transgender, still supporting the conclusion that “the majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older.”

The other criticized study “cast too wide a net on which children were legitimately displaying gender dysphoria,” The Posts’ article said.

Cantor said those alleged complaints probably refers to “Developmental Psychology” by  K.D. Drummond, S.J. Bradley, M. Badali-Peterson and K.J. Zucker in 2008.

This study followed up with 25 children who were assessed in childhood for gender issues: 15 received official diagnoses for gender dysphoria and 10 were experiencing the feelings, but “subthreshold” for the diagnosis.

According to Cantor, the main criticism of the study is that “subthreshold” cases discredits the results.  Looking at just the official diagnoses, two were transgender in adulthood, and of the 10 without an official diagnosis, only one continued to be transgender.

So, the closer look at the individual parts of the study show that 88 percent desisted, supporint the same conclusion as the other study.

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The 12 studies that all support the same claim come from a variety of countries and labs, and span over four decades.

Although the studies say the majority of transgender kids desist, Cantor points out that it is not a large majority and that results should not be exaggerated in either direction.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith