Non-binary gender and transgender youth: A literature review

Translated title of the contribution: Non-binary gender and transgender youth: A literature review

F. Poirier, A. Condat, L. Laufer, O. Rosenblum, D. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Recently international scientific literature has been increasingly interested in situations where gender identity is unconventional – neither male nor female, part-time male part-time female, male and female. Binary transgender identity and gender dysphoria are now well recognized. However, this is not the case for non-binary gender identities. Objective: In the current report, we aim at reviewing the literature on non-binary gender and genderqueer identities in order to appreciate the interest of this recognition in medicine and its understanding by the health professionals. Methods: The article is based on a literature review on non-binary gender and genderqueer identities and on the accompaniment of binary and non-binary transgender youth. The results are presented within different themes. Results: Research shows that non-binary/genderqueer people tend to be young, urban, have a higher level of education, and to remain often as students or unemployed. If non-binary trans people are mostly teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 25, it is not simply a question of considering non-binary gender identity as an adolescent process, or even simply a recent societal phenomenon. Indeed, the issues that are facing these adolescents and young people are very specific, starting with marginalization and precariousness. According to previous studies, psychic difficulties (including self-aggressive gestures, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, eating disorders, anxiety and depression) are more or less equal or superior to those of binary transgender people. It is necessary to consider the different methodological biases, or the cultural and geographical context of a study. The rate of indecision is particularly high among non-binary youth, but access to care is more complicated when they are ready to make a change. Then, the physical transformations desired will vary, depending on the needs, but frequently only the cross-sex hormones and/or top surgery are needed. In that way, non-binary gender youth tend to have a better relationship with their own bodies than binary transgender youth. Conclusion: The scientific literature is increasingly trying to raise the question of the inclusivity of all genres in national surveys and in the accompaniment of people. A better understanding of these questions will allow better support of young people questioning their gender in a binary or non-binary perspective.

Translated title of the contributionNon-binary gender and transgender youth: A literature review
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-285
Number of pages18
JournalNeuropsychiatrie de l'Enfance et de l'Adolescence
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Agender
  • Cisgender
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Gender-affirming care
  • Gender-fluid
  • Genderqueer
  • Non-binary gender
  • Non-conforming gender
  • Transgender
  • Youth


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