Today’s Ask The Anarchist Reverend question is: What resources are out there for parents of transgender kids? And what tips would you give a parent to help them be sensitive to the needs of potentially trans* kids?
We’ve got two questions here but they both deal with kids so I decided to tackle both. I want to state up front: I’m not a parent. I am answering this question with resources I have read, things I’ve heard from other parents of trans* kids, and from what I wish my own experience had been growing up.
I would LOVE it if folks with other resources, information, and personal experience would weigh in in the comments. If you want to stay anonymous you can email me (anarchistreverend at gmail) and I will post your response for you.
I want to answer the second question first. Again, this is what would have made things easier for me as a kid.
* Listen to your child.
* Don’t force them into clothing that they hate. Going shopping for clothing was always a major battle in my household. I always wanted to shop in the boys’ section and was rarely allowed to.
* Don’t force your child to buy toys or games that are gender specific. Allow them to pick out the things they are interested in.
* Make sure they have access to books about trans* and/or gender non-conforming people. There are tons of age specific books.
* If you feel like they need or want to see a therapist make sure to find one that is well versed in dealing with trans* kids. Same thing for your pediatrician.
I know that parents sometimes worry about this being a phase, but I think you can tell the difference between a phase and an ongoing situation. Also, I think it’s important to know that medical treatments rarely start before a child is 8 or older. And those treatments (hormone blockers) are completely reversible. All of this to say, that you have the time you need to both honor your child’s wishes while making sure they are well taken care of and making the right decisions.
There are different steps, I think, when dealing with older youth (junior high and above) as those youth will be able to tell you more clearly what’s going on in their heads and hearts and bodies.
Here is a list of resources:
This is the first place I refer folks to. A great network of support.
This link contains links to several websites and books.
The http://www.genderspectrum.org/child-family/resources site includes this page for families.
This is a list of a bunch of books from a variety of age groups that feature gender non-conforming or trans* characters.
There are also quite a few books on my resource page that might be helpful or of interest.
The Art of Transliness has this list.
What else have I missed? What books do you love and recommend? What other websites are helpful? What have been your experiences? What do you wish your parents had known or done when you were a child/teenager?