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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resource Center for Families & Educators


Health Risk Behaviors among Gender Expansive Students (downloadable)


Young people whose gender expression does not fit traditional roles based on their sex assigned at birth—often referred to as gender nonconforming, gender expansive, or nonbinary youth—are at increased risk for a variety of health risk behaviors. Research on gender nonconformity among sexual minority youth has shown that such youth face an increased risk of victimization (bullying, abuse, sexual harassment) and worse behavioral health outcomes (depression, suicide, drug use) compared to their peers.

In 2012, the CDC approved an optional question to assess gender expression and gender nonconformity for use with the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), the nation’s primary public health surveillance tool for secondary school-age youth.

The question wording approved by the CDC for use in the YRBSS and used in this report reads:

A person’s appearance, style, dress, or the way they walk or talk may affect how people describe them. How do you think other people at school would describe you?

Response Options: Very feminine; Mostly feminine; Somewhat feminine; Equally feminine and masculine; Somewhat masculine; Mostly masculine; Very masculine

This downloadable report, Health Risk Behaviors among Gender Expansive Students: Making the Case for Including a Measure of Gender Expression in Population–Based Surveys, contains the first broad analysis of the data gathered through these surveys, providing an analysis of approximately 60 health risk behaviors across the distribution of gender expression for males and females among more than 9,000 students.

Advocates for Youth is a national non-profit that champions programs and advocates for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health.

Do you need someone to talk to? CHC Clinical Services Coordinators can arrange a free 30 minute Care Consultation so you can explore options with an expert. Call or email our Clinical Services Coordinators at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up an initial Consultation appointment.

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