Examining victimization in trans and gender expansive teens


A report examines whether transgender and gender expansive adolescents experience more frequent peer victimization and dating violence than their cisgender peers.

Although there has been some move toward acceptance for transgender teenagers, there is still a long way to go, as debates over bathrooms and allowing transgender girls to participate in female sports continue to rage in both the public and legislatures. A report in Pediatrics examined both peer victimization and dating violence in transgender and gender-expansive teenagers and how it compares to their cisgender peers.1

The investigators used a subsample from the 2018 Illinois Youth Survey. The participants were frequency matched on geographic region, race, grade, and free or reduced lunch status. They calculated the prevalence of self-reported cyber, verbal, and physical peer victimization as well as both physical and psychological dating violence. Log-binomial regression was used to derive adjusted prevalence ratios.

The sample included 4464 males, females, transgender teenagers, and gender-expansive teenagers, with 1116 participants per groups. Gender expansive meant any adolescent who did not identify as male, female, or transgender. The investigators found that the highest rates of all forms of victimization were seen in gender-expansive (13.2%–41.4%) and transgender (15.6%–51.6%) teenagers. When compared to the cisgender groups, transgender teenagers had higher frequency of victimization than the female group (1.34 to 2.65 times higher) and the male group (2.09 to 2.96 times). Gender-expansive teenagers also had higher frequency of most types of victimization than female teenagers (1.18 to 2.35 times higher frequencies) and all types of victimization when compared to male teenagers (1.83 to 2.61 times higher). When comparing the frequency of victimization among transgender and gender-expansive teenagers, transgender adolescents had higher rates of victimization in certain categories.

The investigators concluded that victimization happens with greater frequency to transgender and gender-expansive teenagers, when compared to their cisgender peers. The results of the study highlight that both groups have distinct experiences when it comes to victimization and these experiences should be taken into consideration when developing school policies and programs for violence prevention.


1. Garthe R, Kaur A, Rieger A, Blackburn A, Kim S, Goffnett J. Dating violence and peer victimization among male, female, transgender, and gender-expansive youth. Pediatrics. March 25, 2021. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-004317

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