What a fabulous article! Consider reading this and passing this along to educators you know!
“Ongoing learning is key. Educators need to engage in regular professional development to build a school climate that avoids gender stereotyping and affirms the gender of all children. Every child has the right to learn in a safe and accepting school environment. And supporting gender expansive students gives schools an opportunity to help all children succeed.”
My son introduced me to podcast listening! What a fun way to learn from so many different folks about so many different subjects! Several of my favorite podcasts include episodes concerning transgender issues. I highly encourage you to check out the following:
- Morgan M Page’s podcast One From the Vaults explores the lives of trans men, women, and genderqueer people throughout 20th century history. One From the Vaults is available online on SoundCloud and iTunes.
- Marlo Mack’s How to Be a Girl podcast discusses her day-to-day experiences of being a mother to a transgender daughter.
- Stuff You Missed in History Class is also a fantastic podcast, and you can poke around their archives for wonderful episodes on LGBTQ history here.
There is a lot to take in when understanding a change in your child’s gender identity -especially when your child is an adult and you have had years of practice assuming you know your kid! You have raised them by the gender they were assigned at birth and called them by the pronouns associated with that assigned gender. And now you are learning, as I did, that this identity did not ring authentic for them. Your child and mine see themselves outside of that which was assigned. For some it may mean identifying as female when they were born as male. Some females grow up to recognize themselves as male. And still others understand that theirs is a more fluid identity…not the binary we parents were raised to expect, but instead, theirs is an identity that goes undefined because it can be both complex and dualistic. It may mean not being confined to loving or being attracted to only “opposite” partners.
When I was growing up, the term, “queer” was considered extremely negative and used strictly as an insult. The many folks that now consider themselves Queer or Gender Queer use the term with pride. I will not attempt to give the best definition for this identity…instead, I ask you to read a really great article that says it best!
What I have learned during my journey, is that I really knew so little and assumed so much! I had to become open enough to consider that identities involved choices and alternatives. I had to work on being less judgmental so that I could recognize folks deserve to be happy; and what that happiness looks like and lives like- is their call!
I hope you will read the link and consider. It’s not a “black n white-this is how it is and only how it is” world any more. We live in a technicolor time, full of possibility!
A recent article by Nick Adams, the director of GLADD’s (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Transgender Media Program, was spot on! GLADD holds the media accountable for accurate representation of the LGBTQ communities. Mr. Adams notes, “— in spite of the critical and commercial success of projects that put trans people front and center — Hollywood is having a very difficult time letting go of the idea that putting a male actor in a dress, wig and makeup is an accurate portrayal of a transgender woman.”
I invite you to read Mr. Adam’s article here! It’s not enough to put out a movie depicting the lives of LGBT folks- Transgender actors and actresses SHOULD be portraying those roles themselves!!
Matt Bomer and Men Who Play Transgender Women Send a “Toxic and Dangerous” Message
One of my favorite blogs, Gendermom (the author and commentator of the podcast, “How to be a Girl”), has a new post that offers excellent recommendations for you moms with school age trans-children. As she sent her MTF daughter off to begin third grade, the blog’s writer shares the letter she has composed to her daughter’s new teacher. As a retired educator myself, I can say that this letter will be most likely be met with gratitude! Teachers (especially in the elementary grades) seriously consider their students’ self esteems and personal needs!
While Gendermom is positive in tone, she is, at the same time, open about the concern her daughter has for remaining “stealth”(not disclosing she is transgender unless she personally so chooses to disclose). This proactive mom’s anticipation of what the teacher should be aware of, seeks the teacher’s support so that potentially awful interactions can be avoided. Let’s be honest, we cannot prevent everything bad from reaching our children, but we can stem the tide by laying the foundation for understanding-especially in our children’s schools!
As we watch this first generation ever have some of its children switch their gender identification with the support of the significant adults in their lives, we can ALL learn how to support and celebrate our transgender youth!
Every story is a bit different. But it feels great to hear how other mothers are navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of this trans-journey we are on with our kids!
Take a moment and enjoy:
The Trans United Fund released this video in response to the hate rhetoric coming from certain politicians and the hateful anti-transgender legialation they are trying to pass.
This is what loving mothers of transgender children look like: you are NOT alone!!
Please take a moment to watch!
A new study (in the journal, Pediatrics) from the University of Washington’s TransYouth Project has revealed exciting news for each of us mothers to consider and be aware!! Children that have transitioned (living as their identified gender) WITH SUPPORT and ACCEPTANCE were happy, healthy and well, living normal well-adjusted lives just like their cis-gendered peers! Music to any mom’s ears!!
Most studies note the worrisome (let’s be honest- frightening!!) statistics of transgender lives that are associated with trauma and sadness. There are highly reported incidences of depression, suicide, and existence on the fringes of communities. Those are very real statistics come from the teenagers and adults who have struggled for years with burying their identities before honoring the identities they know to be authentic. These teens and adults have had to fight for their families members and communities to acknowledge and believe what they know to be their truths.
However, this new longitudinal study includes 180 young children that have found acceptance within their families! They have been provided with support not only through their families, but at school, as well. These children received medical support, counseling and access to support groups. All this in a social climate of change and perhaps, greater acceptance in their communities. These new conditions just may be the game-changers in the lives of our transgender community!
As these children develop and grow, their lives will be followed and studied. These 180 transgender children have very REAL opportunities to change the expectation of depression and victimization to, instead, lives of joy and contentment- and all in thanks to loving parents who are facing real challenges in acceptance and advocacy! This brings GREAT hope and CONFIDENCE that a successful future for our transgender children awaits!!