hands waving small trans flags

Doctoral project: A qualitative systematic review on the experiences of gender creative children under 18 years in relation to gender identity

In this project, we are synthesizing qualitative research on the experiences of gender creative children and youth under 18 years, related to gender identity. We focus on first-hand experiences in areas of everyday life.

Project information

Doctoral student
Kristiina Tyni
Idor Svensson
Assistant supervisor
Anna Bratt, Linnaeus University, and Matilda Wurm, Örebro University
11 Jan 2021–2023
Clinical psychology (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)

More about the project

We are conducting a qualitative systematic review aimed at synthesizing qualitative research on experiences related to gender identities in gender creative children and youth under 18 years. Gender creative is our choice of affirmative term including young children or youth who do not identify with their gender assigned at birth, but do not use the concept of transgender. In addition, we believe the term has positive connotations non-related to medical or psychiatric diagnoses. The study is part of a doctoral project at the Department of Psychology, Linneaus University.

Our understanding of transgender issues is going through great and rapid changes in the Western World. For example a first generation of children and youth is growing up living in line with their asserted gender identities from a very young age, with families supporting social transitioning (i.e. having the name, pronoun and appearance fit the person’s authentic gender as experienced). The knowledge of gender creative youth, and especially pre-pubertal children, is still limited in research even though it’s a rapidly growing area.

The focus of the systematic qualitative review is first-hand experiences of children and youth in areas of everyday life such as self-worth, family relations, friends, school, free time activities, health and/or gender affirming care and so on, related to gender identity as phenomenon. The review is of importance since there is a lack of research in this area and most research and reviews so far focuses on children’s and youth’s mental health and issues related to gender affirming care as reported by parents or health care personnel.

For the review we have selected peer-reviewed articles published between the years of 2000 and 2020, with the following research questions guiding our work:

  1. What are the experiences of gender creative children and youth under 18 years related to gender identity?
  1. How do they cope with these experiences?

The articles are searched and selected according to a systematic process, then going through a structured quality check and finally synthesized on a meta-level. This process is described in detail in our pre-registered review protocol at the Open Science Framework, DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/YJT6X.

Collaborators in the study are Kristiina Tyni, Anna Bratt and Thomas Nordström, Linnaeus University, and Matilda Wurm, Örebro University.