Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

Are you taking a student next year? What are you looking for?

We are considering admitting a new graduate student this year. If you are interested, and if the research described on our lab’s website is the kind of work you’d like to spend 5 years doing, we would encourage you to apply. We are especially enthusiastic about candidates with considerable psychology research experience, regardless of the exact topic.

Importantly, we have a policy of treating all candidates before the admissions process equally. This means we do not give individual advice over email, in person, or on the phone. Once all applications have been received we get in touch with top candidates. Finalists will have an opportunity to meet with us in person (at our expense), to ask questions to Dr. Olson, and to ask students what it is like to work in this lab. We prefer you do not contact us (Dr. Olson and her students) in advance of the admissions process in order to ensure that all applicants have an equal opportunity to be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions about our Gender Studies

What is the TransYouth Project?

The TransYouth Project is a large-scale, national longitudinal study of more than 300 socially-transitioned transgender children that started in 2013. These children were recruited when they were 3-12 years of age and we are hoping to follow them for 20 years.

Can my family be a part of the TYP or in other research with your team?

We have completed recruitment for the initial TYP cohort, however we ARE recruiting transgender (and lots of non-transgender) children for other ongoing research. If you are interested in learning more about that work click here. In addition, we are currently recruiting children with a wide range of types of gender development. In addition to transgender children, we are recruiting intersex children, gender nonconforming children, tomboys, princess boys, pink boys, non-binary children, gender creative kids—you name it! If you have a child who is under 18 and fits in one of these (or a related) category and are interested in learning more about our work or signing up, please complete the contact form here.

If I sign up am I committing to participating?

Nope. If you sign up we’ll send you more information, you can ask questions and then you can decide if you are interested or not. Even once you sign up you can change your mind. No one will ever be asked to complete a study unless they want to!

What does participation entail?

Some of the studies we are recruiting for are longitudinal meaning that we might ask you questions at a few time points in the future. Other studies involve one-time visits. One-time visits can take as little as 30 minutes and our longest studies involve a 60-minute visit every few years.

Do I have to be in Seattle to participate?

We are currently recruiting children throughout the U.S. and Canada so feel free to sign up if you are interested. And honestly if you are in another country and want to sign up, go ahead and we’ll see if we can make it to you in the future.

Are there costs? Can I get diagnostic reports about my child?

There are no costs associated with participation (in fact we pay participants a small “thank you”). We do not provide any diagnostic reports. We also do not give parents the responses of their specific children, rather tell parents the overall findings for children in general.

What questions guide the TransYouth Project?

Our research primarily focuses on questions about gender development across the lifespan and about mental health and well-being of transgender children. These are the primary topics we study though we cover some other areas as well.

What kinds of data do you get and how often do you see families?

For the official TYP cohort, we aim to see families in person every 1-3 years until each child in our study is about 12 years old. Then we rely primarily on surveys. In addition we do some interviews of parents and older children by phone and collect some data online. Data and timing for our other studies vary.

Can families stop participating?

As in all of our research, families can stop participating at any time that they wish. They should just contact us if they are interested in stopping and we will remove all contact information from our files.

Can you help my family decide if my kid is transgender? Should I support my child through a social transition?

Our team is made up of developmental and social psychologists, not clinical psychologists, so we aren’t trained to inform families about what they should or shouldn’t do and we don’t diagnose kids. We think the best way to understand our role is to think about biologists and doctors. Biologists may know as much about the human body and do much of the research that informs medical decision-making, but when you want medical advice you go to a doctor, not biologist. We’re the biologists in that analogy. So we are doing research that we hope will prove useful to parents and clinicians, but we can’t help families make decisions about what is right for them.

What if a child is in TYP and they no longer call themselves transgender?

There are many questions surrounding how gender identity does and does not change across development in kids like those in the TYP cohort. We are looking forward to learning more about this topic by following these kids into adulthood. We are interested in following our participants no matter how they identify later in life. The many different pathways of gender development are all interesting to us!

How do I get in touch with the team about this gender work?

If you are part of the TYP cohort already, feel free to reach us at transyp [at] uw [dot] edu . If you are interested in future research or are not part of the existing TYP study, please contact us at gendev [at] uw [dot] edu.

How do I learn about the latest work?

Check out the publications section and media section of our website for our latest published work.

I’m a member of the press and want to do a story on trans kids, TYP, or something related, how should I get in touch?

You can email us at transyp [at] uw [dot] edu, however please be aware that we require several days to answer so if your story is due in a few hours or even a couple of days we probably aren’t the best sources. We are often contacted by media looking to speak with transgender children and their families. Participation in our study is confidential so we cannot put you in touch with our participants. Please seek other resources to speak with families. Finally, due to considerable mis-information and mis-use of our study findings, we reserve the right to record all media conversations for our own records. We appreciate your understanding.