[Photo by: Lorenzo Maimone/Unsplash]

More teens in the U.S. are identifying as transgender and gender-nonconforming, according to a new study.

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As the Associated Press reports from a study done by Pediatrics with ninth to 11th grade students, nearly 3 percent identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

“Diverse gender identities are more prevalent than people would expect,” said Nic Rider, a University of Minnesota fellow who studies transgender health. “With growing trans visibility in the United States, some youth might find it safer to come out and talk about gender exploration.”

However, as Cosmopolitan explains, research shows that transgender and non-conforming students experience more bullying and harassment in schools. And in response, Dr. Daniel Shumer, a specialist in transgender medicine at the University of Michigan, says schools and physicians should abandon limited views of gender. “Youth are rejecting this binary thinking and are asking adults to keep up,” he tells the Associated Press.

In response, he hopes that it'll help transgender teens feel more comfortable seeking healthcare—and because rejecting the gender binary simply conveys “competence, inclusivity and caring.”