Kristina Olson has always been fascinated by questions of gender. As a psychologist, she’d studied how children behaved in social groups, and five years ago, she decided she wanted to know more about transgender children who were living as their self-identified gender.
“At least initially, transgender kids feel they are a part of a gender group that the whole world doesn’t believe they’re in, and that’s a really unique experience, and I wanted to understand what that experience was like,” said Olson, 37, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington and the director of the Social Cognitive Development Lab there. “And I was very surprised to learn that there was no empirical research, there were no quantitative papers about the experience of these kids.”
At first, she said, she figured she’d wait until another researcher tackled the project. “But then I was like — what if I was the person who did that?”
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