Editorial: Minding the gap – research on sexual minority and gender nonconforming children and adolescents
Charles H. Zeanah & Myo Thwin Myint
There is often a gap between politics and science, but the influence across the gap is bidirectional. This editorial considers a longitudinal, community-based sample of children and adolescents and asks about risks from early childhood gender non-conformity and adolescent reported sexual minority status for subsequent anxiety disorders. It is especially valuable to have longitudinal data from a non-referred sample to address questions of risk, and the investigators must be complemented for having foresight about these questions twenty years ago. The topics of our investigations are informed and motivated by cultural assumptions, pressures and conflicts. In the example discussed, transgender people are not new, but research on their development is fairly recent, as they are culturally now more accepted as different rather than pathological. Research findings also matter to the culture. Dropping homosexuality as a mental disorder in formal nosologies occurred with significant scientific substantiation. The value of this research to enhance clinical care and offer informed parental guidance about children of a minority status cannot be overemphasized.
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