The International Bullying Prevention Association provides resources, training, and information regarding the prevention of bullying, pulling from the latest in scientific research. Periodically, they host webinars that are geared towards parents and educators, for free! You can register to participate when it is happening live or, if you are a member (which costs $25 at the time of this post), you check out their webinar archives at your leisure. Additionally, they host an annual conference to discuss the latest research and programs that are being used successfully.
“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.
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.
I first became aware of this movement from a viral video back in October 2010. Joel Burns, elected official, made a speech at a Fort Worth, TX city council meeting. He had been deeply troubled by several gay teens committing suicide and had a personal message he felt compelled to share with other teens that might be experiencing the same emotional pain. You can check out this powerful speech on YouTube.
I honestly don’t know if he has any connection to the formal It Gets Better organization but, according to their website, they started up the month before Joel’s speech. Since that time, they have produced and collected many inspirational videos about why, even when things seem so hard as an LGBTQ youth, you need to hold on because when you grow up and are an adult, you can chart your own course, find a community that supports you for you, and feel like life is worth living.
Extra links: Season 2: It Got Better