It is important for young people to see themselves represented in stories, on television and in different job opportunities, so they can have an awareness of what is possible. While we often hear the words “representation matters,” research on how representation affects health outcomes of trans and non-binary (TNB) youth is lacking. In this presentation, we will use the Social Cognitive Theory to identify how the presence of role models relates to social and health outcomes of TNB youth across Canada.
The 2019 online Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey included 1,519 TNB youth ranging from 14-25 years old. Youth identified as 43.7% trans masculine, 12.3% trans feminine, and 44% non-binary. Analyses explore differences in the relationship between the presence of TNB role models and social and health outcomes using crosstabulations and chi square tests, logistic regressions, and ANOVAs, by age and across gender identity groups.
Youth with role models had a higher odds of participating in school sports [OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.03 – 1.59] and youth who had a role model they want to be like were significantly more likely to report living in their felt gender (p = .036). The relationship between TNB youth’s identification of role models and being able to think of something they are good at, living in their felt gender, avoiding public spaces, future school plans, sports involvement, self-rated physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing and general health outcomes across developmental groupings will be discussed. Demographic and contextual factors that moderate the relationship between role models and social/health outcomes will also be presented.
Youth with role models have better social and emotional well-being. The importance of role models for TNB youth should not be diminished. We will share the implications of our findings for health promotion and public health policy, as well as recommendations for further research.
Taylo A, Chan A, Saewyc E. (2021). Role models and well-being among trans and non-binary youth.European Journal of Public Health, 31, Issue Supplement_3, October 2021, ckab164.600. DOI:10.1093/eurpub/ckab164.600.