A new study indicates that transgender children raised as the gender with which they identify will hit all the healthy development milestones.
Selin Gulgoz, a researcher at the University of Washington, conducted the largest study on trans children ever and told Newsweekit was virtually impossible to tell trans subjects from cisgender counterparts.
"The most surprising finding is, overall, just how similar transgender and cisgender kids looked," Gulgoz said. "What this means is that, if I saw the data of any random participant, I would not be able to tell if that child is transgender or cisgender."
The study followed social transitions for 317 transgender children, ages 3 to 12, as well as 189 siblings to the subjects and 316 cisgender kids who served as a control group.
Gulgoz said researchers made sure to include a range of personalities in the study -- there were "tomboy" girls both trans and cis, for example.
"This study does show that in fact not all trans girls (or cis girls) want to wear frilly pink dresses or play with dolls," Gulgoz stressed. "We in fact see plenty of trans kids violating these stereotypes, just as we see cis kids do so."
Gulgoz said the findings do show that early social transitions won't force children into adopting a different gender identity.
Simona Giordano, an expert in gender identity and reader in bioethics at the University of Manchester Law School, also told Newsweek that the study provides reassurance to families and clinicians serving trans youth.
"Enabling a child to choose freely toys, clothes, hairstyle, a name and pronoun, or even to present in the experienced gender outside the domestic environment does not 'cause' children to become transgender or later transsexual adults," she said.