Thursday, December 28, 2017

Gee… You Know What would be Fun?

Let’s face it being trans is not a “phase” there is a big difference between dressing-up and being trans and the children know the difference.
Transgender Youth – Fad or Fact?
By Janna Barkin
December 24, 2017

Transgender. Non-Binary. Gender Fluid. Bi-Gender. A-Gender. Pan Gender. Gender Expansive. These are just some of the words people use today to describe their gender identity. In fact, Facebook now has 54 gender markers one can choose from.

Increasing numbers of youth today question their gender, and there is a corresponding increase in the number of ways people choose to describe and name their gender. A recent UCLA study found that over a quarter of California kids aged 12 to 17 say they are viewed by others at school as gender nonconforming. Alarmingly, the study also found that youth who are gender nonconforming and/or androgynous report higher levels of psychological distress than their gender-conforming peers. What’s going on here?

Some people may wonder if this is a cultural fad that will eventually fade. Experts in the field say otherwise, and in fact our culture today is making great leaps and bounds regarding our understanding of gender identity. The latest research shows that gender is not a binary “black or white” paradigm constructed along rigid male or female lines; rather, gender includes a spectrum of identities ranging from male to female along several strata, and even extending outside the spectrum itself. One’s identity can exist anywhere on this spectrum—or even outside the spectrum. A key to understanding gender identity as a concept is that gender identity is one’s innermost sense of who they are with regards to gender. As with everything else about individuals, there are infinite variations to gender.
“What’s going on here?”

There can be serval factors involved here, one trans kids are realizing that there are more options than just the binary. They can feel emboldened by seeing other kids come out. It could be the round peg in a square hole, the feeling of not quite fitting in. It could mean that the parents are more savvy in knowing that gender is not binary and understanding of gender dysphoria. It could also be that society is realizing that just maybe gender is a continuum.
Does it even matter if it is fad or fact? The 2012 survey of transgender youth, conducted by Ontario Canada’s Trans Pulse, revealed that the number one factor trans youth feel leads to their happiness and self-acceptance is parental support. Sadly, to the contrary, trans and gender-expansive youth without family support have been shown to be in the highest risk pools for depression, anxiety, and suicide. These are sobering statistics. Children who do not express gender in stereotypical ways need parents who are knowledgeable, flexible, and patient.
It’s time to shift our way of thinking. Best practices evolve: youth of today are finding new ways to describe their inner sense of gender and they are also exploring ways of expressing that inner sense to the outer world. Is this just a fad? Or, are the youth pushing us toward the future, a future in which all forms of gender identity and expression will be seen as valid and true?
Nope it doesn’t matter, no matter how the children feel they should be allowed to explore their gender in a safe environment and that means a school free from bullying.

The best prescription is to let kids be kids and explore their genders.

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