The National Science Foundation is expanding a study of transgender children as young as three years old, giving the project's researcher an additional $1 million.
Kristina Olson, a researcher at the University of Washington, received the 2018 Alan T. Waterman Award, the nation's "highest honor for a young scientist or engineer," for her work studying the gender identities of toddlers.
Olson's TransYouth Project is not just interested in transgender children, but "intersex children," "non-binary children," "princess boys," "pink boys," and more.
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"Olson is recognized for her innovative contributions to understanding children's attitudes toward and identification with social groups, early prosocial behavior, the development of notions of fairness, morality, inequality and the emergence of social biases," the National Science Foundation said in a statement announcing the award.
Olson is most well known for her gender studies, which has already received over $600,000 from the taxpayers. The Waterman award, which was announced last week, will give Olson an additional $1 million over five years.
In a video announcing the award, the National Science Foundation said when Olson was "just a child," she was thinking about issues such as the correlation of race and social class in America.
When Olson was in grade school she started "noticing some of her peers were treated differently than others. She wondered why?" the National Science Foundation said.
"For example, I saw the ways in which factors like race and social class are correlated in our country," Olson said.
Now Olson mostly focuses on gender identity, with the TransYouth Project. The study currently is following 300 transgender kids across the country, and their siblings. The study recruited kids as young as three years old, and Olson hopes to follow them for two decades.
"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!" according to the project's website. "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."
Olson said the project does not provide surgeries on "these young prepubescent children," but that "these children transitioned socially well before she met them."
Children's doctors are already using the results of the study, the National Science Foundation said. The study so far has generated results that are pro-gender transition, claiming transgender children have rates of depression and anxiety "no higher" than "non-transgender" kids and do "really, really well" with parents who support them living as an opposite gender.
"While only in its fifth year, the study results are being used by pediatricians to educate families and the public about social and health issues related to gender diversity," the National Science Foundation said in the video.
The video then showed a slide from one of Olson's research presentations of a cartoon from the "How to Be a Girl" podcast, which documents a "single mom and an eight-year-old ‘girl with a penis.'"
Cheryl Kaiser, the head of the psychology department at the University of Washington, said Olson's work "breaks tremendous new ground."
The National Science Foundation echoed the sentiment.
"The history of scientific discovery reveals many examples of the important role the social sciences can play in enhancing our health, security and national prosperity," said Gary May, the chairman of the Waterman Award Committee, which unanimously chose Olson for the award. "Kristina Olson's research on bias has been identified as enlarging our perspective on how people, cultures and nations relate to one another."
"I believe it is impossible to solve any large-scale social issues without documenting, understanding and ultimately bridging differences in people's racial, cultural, gender, and other identities," Olson said.
Olson added that she believes her work can change "society's understanding of gender and identity."
Olson has already received $635,711 from the federal government for her gender studies.
The Washington Free Beacon previously reported on Olson's work receiving taxpayer funding, including $138,000 for transgender research last year. The National Science Foundation said that study would ask four-year-olds about their "internal sense of gender identity" and what "gender-typed toys" they play with.
Olson also received $497,711 beginning in 2015 for a project entitled, "Toward a Broader Understanding of Gender Development." The research focus of the initial study was to "develop more complex understandings of gender."
In addition, Olson received $120,254 last year for a study asking four- and five-year-olds about their race and social status.
She has also received $184,500 for a study of "cross-cultural comparison of conceptions" of intellectual property in 2013. In all, she has received $1,940,465 from the National Science Foundation.
The $1 million in new funding will go towards expanding the TransYouth project, as well as starting a mentorship program for "LGBTQ students, students of color, first-generation college students, and those from small colleges with fewer resources for research."