As Pride month comes to a close, we highlight one of our Evidence for Action (E4A) funded projects, “Investigating The Netherlands Gender-Affirming Care Policy to Improve Transgender Youth Health Outcomes in the US.” Studies over the last 12 years indicate that transgender youth in The Netherlands benefit from the Netherlands’ comprehensive gender affirming care policies and show that trans youth are doing as well as or better than their cisgender peers when it comes to outcomes. The E4A funded project is seeking to understand what elements of the Netherlands trans youth care policies and practices might be applied in the United States to improve outcomes for US trans youth. Cohorts of youth in The Netherlands and the US are participating in this longitudinal study, reporting on their access to care, services, and experiences of the policies and practices that affect their lives.
“It is inspiring to see how enthusiastic the families are to participate in this project,” says John Strang, Principal Investigator for the US arm of the study. The study is using a range of recruitment approaches to reach trans youth across the US, including from communities without much support for transgender young people. “Our aim is to capture a broad range of youth and family experiences, because trans young people in the US are living under very different types of policies and practices,” Strang said. The study may be especially timely given the recent increase in legislation limiting gender affirming care support for transgender youth in certain US states.
“This funding opportunity is allowing for an unprecedented cross-nation study design for trans youth research,” says Anna van der Miesen, Principal Investigator for The Netherlands. The project has completed its initial phase of working with leading experts in trans youth policies and practices from each of the two countries. This work is identifying similarities and differences in the practices between the two countries. “I’m struck and saddened by some of the differences,” says van der Miesen.
By studying mechanisms and outcomes over time, this line of research aims to highlight which factors are most helpful in supporting trans youth wellbeing. “Information from this type of research could help inform youth-attuned policies in a field where there is still limited research,” says Strang. Currently, the study is recruiting trans youth in both countries.