“As more public figures, most recently Bruce Jenner, share their struggles with gender identity, there is increasing awareness and acceptance of transgender adults. But throughout the country, in large cities and small, transgender children, as young as preschool and elementary – school age, and their families, are also coping with the complicated set of challenges. How do you recognize gender nonconformity in a child, what type of help is available, and how do you keep a child safe and gain support from the community? The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is one of several healthcare institutions nationwide providing comprehensive medical and psychological care for transgender children. This morning on Radio Times, the co-directors Nadia Dowshen and Linda Hawkins join Marty to talk about the lives of transgender children and the supports available to help them.”
The tragic death of a transgender teen in Ohio brings to our attention the alienation and pain transgender individuals face. Lee Ann Etscovitz shares her story living much of her life as a man and finally becoming the woman she was meant to be.
Founded by Nadia Dowshen MD, the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic consults with and treats children (in discussion with their parents) with a wide variety of “disorders” of sexual development (e.g. ambiguous genitalia, incomplete development of sex anatomy, etc). This includes working with children and teens who are experiencing “gender dysphoria.” That is a fancy way of saying that they may be transgendered. They address how professional medical care can help kids in this position, along with their families, explore what these feelings mean to each individual and make decisions about whether hormone therapy is indicated to temporarily hold back the development of secondary sex characteristics (breast development, facial hair, etc) while emotional maturity continues to grow.
Linda Hawkins, PhD, LPC is a therapist who works in this program and specializes in assessing and supporting the gender and sexuality development of children and youth. This includes social transition and supporting families, schools, homes of faith, and communities to support healthy development of gender variant and transgender children and youth.
Dara Hoffman-Fox, LPC is a therapist that specializes in transgender issues. Tons of quality information here. Plus, she has a series of videos where she speaks to the viewer who is trans, agender, nonbinary or questioning their gender identity, and provides some guidance as to how to think through the things you may be feeling/experiencing. She also has an e-newsletter that you can sign up for.
One specific resource that I came across on her site is her “My Coming Out Master Plan” with accompanying YouTube video. It’s a worksheet that helps you to think through and plan for how you would like to come out to family and friends.
GSA Network operates the GSA Network of California, which connects over 900 clubs across the state, the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites 40 statewide networks of GSA clubs, and GSAs Unite, an online campaign and petition platform supporting youth organizers across the country.