Kristina Olson, 37, a research psychologist at the University of Washington, was recently awarded a $625,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation, known as the “Genius Grants.” Olson’s TransYouth Project, started in 2013, is a large-scale study of transgender and gender-nonconforming child development. Olson, as a research psychologist, focuses her ongoing study on transgender youth who are supported by their parents or guardians to live their preferred gender.

Parental Support Key Factor

Olson’s study is following 300 kids who have socially-transitioned and comparing them with kids who identify with the genders they were given at birth. Olson’s research reveals that transgender kids experience good mental health when supported by their parents at an early age. The study is debunking previous assumptions that transgender kids would develop higher levels of depression and anxiety. One key factor is supportive parents who aid in the transition. The study has been praised for providing parents with much needed guidance based on scientific data. Very recently, helpful guides are now being provided for parents by reputable medical providers and non-profits dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of transgender youth.

The Study Will Continue For Many More Years

Olson acknowledges that there are many different pathways of gender development, and that they will continue to study these paths as they follow their kids into adulthood.  Olson says that the grant money will allow her to “push the boundaries” of her project. Olson’s project certainly meets the goal of the McArthur Foundation to support “exceptional creativity,” and “promise for important future advances based on significant accomplishments and potential.”

Your Washington Family Law Attorneys Are Here to Help

The Attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny recognize that each family has its own dynamics, and sometimes unique challenges with child development does affect child custody and support matters.  We are here to help any family in the event that legal assistance is needed.


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