Articles and Information from Non-Academic Sources
She Never Was a Boy!
by Karen Adams
This is a Huffington Post blog by a local mom of a transgender child that describes the mom’s dawning awareness of what her child’s transition really meant. The piece also mentions TYES (Trans Youth Education Network), a local group that connects trans* and gender-nonconforming children and their families with one another throughout the state of Colorado. (For more information on TYES, just type “TYES” in the search box on this page).
What happens when your son tells you he’s really a girl:
Inside the families embracing the new world of gender variance
By Cathy Gulli
January 13, 2014
This is a really interesting article about gender variant children, from toddlers to adolescents, that covers a whole range of issues related to gender identity and expression. It even steps outside the “either—or” binary and talks about kids who claim an androgynous identity, not needing to be either a boy or a girl. It also talks about families responses and institutional supports and barriers.
Changing Sex, and Changing Teams
By Ian Lovett
New York Times
A good discussion of the growing number of trans* students who are choosing to play sports – and increasing support for their doing so.
More than half a dozen states have adopted rules to allow transgender high school students to compete on teams that correspond with their gender identities rather than the sex listed on their school records.
Read more here.
Support for trans child in dispute with Fountain, CO, schools
The experience of a trans girl in Fountain, CO, who has faced discrimination in her school has
called attention to the issue of trans youth in the schools. You can read about that case here.
In response, the seven Colorado chapters of PFLAG have joined with TYES (Trans -Youth Education and
Support) to issue the following statement of support for trans youth and their families in the state.
In addition, a letter to the editor on this topic, written by Boulder resident and national PFLAG Vice-
President Jean Hodges, was published in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Transgender student’s rejection by Smith College stirs social media support
by Natalie DiBlasio
March 22, 2013
Social media erupted with support for Calliope Wong, a male-to-female transgender applicant rejected from Smith College because of a government financial aid document… and state rules about what counts as “transition.” An interesting look into the complexities of documentation and the rising impact of social media
By Michael Schulman
New York Times
January 9, 2013
If the gay-rights movement today seems to revolve around same-sex marriage, this generation is seeking something more radical: an upending of gender roles beyond the binary of male/female. The core question isn’t whom they love, but who they are — that is, identity as distinct from sexual orientation. Armed with the millennial generation’s defining traits — Web savvy, boundless confidence and social networks that extend online and off — these youths are forging a political identity all their own, often at odds with mainstream gay culture.
A reality-check sort of discussion of changing ideas about and enactments of gender, sexual orientation, and identity in general.
A new level of support for gender variant son
August 29, 2012
When it comes to supporting his son's unconventional wardrobe, Nils Pickert talks the talk and walks the walk. The German dad wears women's clothes (including nail polish) to help his 5-year-old son feel good about going out in dresses and skirts.
What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?
By Ruth Padawer
New York Times
August 8, 2012
This is a very respectful article on gender non-conforming children (mostly kids identified as boys at birth). It includes many personal stories as well as expert opinions and even a bit of history about gender non-conforming folks. A very accessible introduction for those who know little combined with nice depth for those who already know a lot.
by Jesse Green
New York Magazine
May 27, 2012
Parents of transgender children are faced with a difficult decision, and it’s one they have to make sooner than they ever imagined. This longish article examines the dilemmas associated with parents’ decisions about biological questions related to transgender identity in children.
Can Children Know, at Age 2, They Were Born the “Wrong Sex”?
by Barbara J. King
National Public Radio
May 24, 2012
This thought-provoking article examines a perspective on gender identity that challenges certain popular understandings. Biologist and gender-studies expert Anne Fausto-Sterling asks, “What could it possibly mean to say that a child is 'born that way'? Children aren't born with identity." Indeed, significant percentages (ranging from 43 percent to 80 percent) of kids who switch genders at young ages decide to switch back to their natal sex later on. And to complicate matters further, the long-term effects of medical interventions, ranging from early puberty blockers to later hormonal treatments and even to sex reassignment surgery, aren't known. Yet, Fausto-Sterling recognizes the importance of honoring the individual’s identity in the moment. Not an easy dilemma.
by Nicholas Teich
Columbia University Press
Transgender 101 provides a wonderful introduction for anyone who is curious about transgender people and issues, including family and friends of transgender people. It’s also a perfect primer for graduate students in the fields of social work, psychology, counseling, and medicine, as well as students interested in gender and queer studies.
I am UndocuQueer – A Young, Undocumented, Gay Artist Advocates for the DREAM Act
The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth who came to the US as children and have grown up as Americans. For undocumented LGBTQ youth, the combination of being undocumented and gay produces a daunting mix of barriers, and a second coming out. Self-proclaimed artivist Julio Salgado, co-founder of DreamersAdrift, has been cartooning his way through such anguished and uncomfortable topics.
Childhood Gender Nonconformity: A Risk Indicator for Childhood Abuse and Posttraumatic Stress in Youth
By A. L. Roberts et al.
February 20, 2012
Children in the U.S. whose activity choices, interests, and pretend play before age 11 fall outside those typically expressed by their biological sex face increased risk of being physically, psychologically, and sexually abused, and of suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by early adulthood, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health.
Abstract available for free at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/02/15/peds.2011-1804.abstract
The complete article can be purchased at the above site, or it will appear in the March print edition of Pediatrics, available at the library.
It's Ok to Be Neither: Teaching that supports gender-variant children
By Melissa Bollow Temple
An elementary school teacher talks about how she included conversations about gender and gender stereotypes in her classroom.
Led by the child who simply knew
By Bella English
December 11, 2011
The twin boys were identical twins, but from the start each had a distinct personality. Jonas was all boy, and Wyatt was a girl to the core. “Dad, you might as well face it," their father recalls Jonas saying. “You have a son and a daughter." This article traces the trip the family took after that momentous declaration. It’s a great discussion of the process of a child’s transition and of parents’ personal process en route.
The Freedom to Choose Your Pronoun
by Jennifer Conlin
New York Times
Oct. 2, 2011
A growing number of high school and college students who are questioning the gender roles society assigns individuals simply because they have been born male or female.
Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are
by Madison Park
Sept. 27, 2011
When children insist that their gender doesn't match their body, it can trigger a confusing, painful odyssey for the family. And most of the time, these families face isolating experiences trying to decide what is best for their kids, especially because transgender issues are viewed as mysterious, and loaded with stigma and judgment. This article also has an embedded video.
The Doctor is Out (Of Touch)
by Jack Drescher (A guest post on the HRC site)
Sept. 14, 2011
Dr. Jack Drescher of the American Psychiatric Association takes on comments by a commentator on Fox News, who was bothered by news that Chaz Bono, an open and very public transman (also son of Cher and Sonny Bono), will dance with a woman on “Dancing with the Stars.” His comments touch on current psychological knowledge about trans identity and people’s reaction to these issues.
On the Team: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Athletes
Co-sponsored by National Center for Lesbian Rights and Women’s Sport Foundation
This extensive and very readable report explores the obstacles and opportunities for transgender high school and college athletes. It presents policy recommendations, best practices, and additional resources for issues related to transgender students’ participation in sports. Excellent information for schools, parents, and community activists.
The “pink toenails for boys” controversy
A J. Crew in which a mom appears to be enjoying a pink-toenail moment with her son created a stir that spilled over into the John Stewart show. Read about the ad and it consequences here:
And check out John Stewart’s comedic take on the flap here:
The softening of masculinity in English sixth forms
By Marc McCormack
March 1, 2011
How has a decrease in the stigma attached to homosexuality impacted the lives of boys in English schools, their self-images, and their relationships with one another? This is a really interesting article and echoes trends we’ve also been seeing in the US.
Also, the analyses in this article are very reminiscent of Suzanne Pharr’s book, “Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism” (1988, Chardon Press), arguably the best book ever written on the intersection of gender normativity and homophobia (which you can now download for free!):
Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey
National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Hundreds of dramatic findings on the impact of antitransgender bias are presented in this report. Despite all of the harassment, mistreatment, discrimination and violence faced by respondents, study participants also demonstrated determination, resourcefulness and perseverance. Furthermore, in the face of extensive institutional discrimination, family acceptance had a protective affect against many threats to well-being including health risks such as HIV infection and suicide.
NCAA Considers Transgender Policy
By David Moltz
Inside Higher Ed
December 15, 2010
A working group of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has proposed an interpretation of existing policies to create paths for transgender athletes to compete on teams. This is the first time that the NCAA, in any capacity, has offered advice on this issue. Read the details here
Bold Crossings of the Gender Line
By William Van Meter
New York Times
December 8, 2010
This article is not great in terms of its use of terms; especially, it fails to distinguish among transgender, transsexual, cross-dressing, and transvestite (for definitions of all those terms, go to the Glossary page on this site. Despite this concern, we included it here for two reasons: (1) it gives an idea of how widespread the topic of gender variation is becoming in the culture, and (2) it talks about experiences of youth and how important it is to them to see themselves and their experiences reflected in the broader culture. So read with a critical eye, and consider the broader messages it carries for youth and for trans people of all ages.
Pink Boys with Puppy Dog Tails: Three ways to think about little boys in pretty dresses.
By Alice Dreger
December 6, 2010
This is an excellent, easily understandable discussion of various ways of thinking of gender non-conformity in children. It challenges some common assumptions, is respectful, thoughtful, thought provoking, and very informative.
Acceptance of GW transgender basketball player a good life lesson
By Dave Zirin
November 16, 2010
So what happens next? George Washington's Kye Allums made history last weekend by becoming the first openly transgender player in NCAA hoops history to suit up in a game when the Colonials played a pair of games in a tournament in Minnesota. The original story about Kye is also posted here (See “Transgender Man Is on Women’s Team,” by Katie Thomas, New York Times, November 1, 2010). This follow-up story talks about what’s ahead for trans folks in sports.
'Princess Boy' at Center of Gender Debate: Can a Male Child Have Fun in a Tutu?
By Leanne Italie
October 29, 2010
Cheryl Kilodavis self-published "My Princess Boy" about the sometimes cruel reaction 5-year-old Dyson faces when he wears sparkly frocks, twirly skirts and jewelry. She shared it with his school and hopes it will be used as a tool for teachers, day care centers, summer camps and afterschool programs to address bullying and promote tolerance. What the Seattle mom hadn't anticipated was that her family's appearance on local TV … would land on YouTube, light up Twitter and produce both snappish doubters and loving support from around the world.
On the Team: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Student Athletes
By Dr. Pat Griffin and Helen J. Carroll
October 4, 2010
This report is the product of a national think tank whose members gathered to develop model policies and identify best practices for high school and collegiate athletic programs to ensure the full inclusion of transgender student athletes. The purpose of this report is to provide clear and specific guidance to high school and collegiate athletic programs about how to ensure transgender student athletes fair, respectful, and legal access to school sports. Specific best practice recommendations are provided for athletic administrators, coaches, student athletes, parents, and the media.
Snapshot: Advancing Transgender Equality
This report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) examines the particular obstacles faced by transgender people and illustrates these through stories of the lives of trans folks. The report then and offers ideas and recommendations about how those who want to be allies to the trans community can take effective action toward that end.
By Maximillian Potter
The very idea that toddlers and preteens, like Lucia, are transitioning, and that moms and dads would assist them, has prompted plenty of passionate theories that have pitted doctors against doctors, polarized communities and families, and generally fostered an environment that quite literally has made it difficult for transgender children to survive. Meet a local family supporting a child transitioning in a Boulder public school.
Books for children and adolescents on LGBTQ topics
- The Rainbow Project puts together a yearly bibliography of GLBTQ books for children and young adults. Members of the Rainbow Project come from the American Library Association GLBT and Social Responsibility Round Tables. Brief synopses and age recommendations are given.
- Librarians at the University of Illinois have put together a bibliography of transgender literature for young adults. Included are guides to YA transgender literature as well as fiction and nonfiction about transgender characters and people.
- Two New Books for Gender Independent Kids and Families
Backwards Day, set on the planet Tenalp, introduces us to a world where there are seventeen seasons, including one where bubblegum falls from the sky for three days and a single day when everything - everything everywhere - is backwards. Andrea looks eagerly forward to Backwards Day every year, so she can turn into a boy for the day....
The Adventures Of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy follows title-character Tulip as he deals with the birthday wishes of all the nine-year-olds in North America. Tulip receives a wish from a child known as David who wishes to live as Daniela. He doesn't understand how to help, so he seeks the wise counsel of the Wish Fairy Captain....
More information on both books at http://www.flamingorampant.com/
Resources From Academic and Professional Sources
The Positive Aspects of Transgender Self-Identification
Psychology and Sexuality
Riggle, Rostosky, McCants, Pascale-Hague,
This article completes the series by examining the responses of transgender-identified people describing the positive aspects of trans identity.
Answers to Questions about Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity
Informational booklet from the American Psychological Association
This is a straightforward discussion of the questions that everyday folks might have about gender identity and trans issues. It is written in lay language without being so watered down that it has no substantive content. It would be a good read for someone just getting into this area, and a great review of key points for people who are more knowledgeable.
Report by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance
The six-member task force spent more than 2 years reviewing the scientific literature, as well as APA policies regarding transgender issues. It was also charged with developing recommendations for education, professional training and further research into transgenderism and proposing how APA can best meet the needs of psychologists and students who identify as transgender or gender-variant. See their report here:
Gender Spectrum is a consulting group that provides education, training, and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens. Gender Spectrum provides consultation, training, and events designed to help families, educators, professionals, and organizations understand and address the concepts of gender identity and expression. The site offers information including a glossary, FAQs, articles, as well as assorted resources and blog (which appears to be written by Gender Spectrum staff; they invite blog contributions, but it’s not clear how one would post), a store, and a place to make donations.
Videos Related to Gender Identity/Expression and Trans/Genderqueer
“Becoming Me” – episode of In the Life
Excellent 30-min video. Eight families with transgender and gender non-conforming children ranging in ages from 5 to 25 share their stories. With the healthy development of their children at stake, parents must confront binary perceptions of gender, widespread transphobia, and complicated parenting decisions. Great combination of children’s perspectives, parents’ input, and expert opinion.
A trans woman talks about how LGBT students can get through middle and high school
Jean is a transgender activist living in Maine. These are her thoughts about the options GLBT youth have to help them make it through middle and high school. (This video is closed captioned.)
I Told Them I’m Transgender
In this video, a transgender teen describes the story of his coming out and his transition.
Larkin Street Stories: Neither/Nor: Working with Transgender Youth
This video provides guidance on using language that is fully inclusive and respectful of youths’ diverse sexual orientation and gender identities. It includes discussion of developing office forms that allow for a full range of self-identities and may be useful to anyone working in an office or clinic setting. It also give some clues about how youth understand gender presentation—i.e., how they think they need to “show up” to properly represent particular gender identities in particular settings. (7 min. 22 sec)
Anderson Cooper on trans youth and their parents
Anderson spends the hour talking to children who believe they are trapped in the wrong bodies, and discusses their parents’ journey to acceptance. The show also includes some expert opinion to give a better understanding of the medical and psychological aspects of transgender experiences, including options for children and others who are interested in physical changes to support their gender transition.
Anderson also speaks with a transgender woman recently expelled from college for applying as a female, and Kyle Allums, the first transgender Division 1 basketball player.
See the preview here: http://www.andersoncooper.com/episodes/children-and-teens-trapped-in-the-wrong-bodies/
Watch the full show (40 min) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTYzxqaQUSQ
Photos of Angie
This moving and powerful documentary chronicles the life and murder of Angie Zapata -- a transgender teen who was murdered in rural Colorado in 2008. The film includes extensive interviews with Angie’s family about her journey of self-discovery, transgender lives across the globe, hate crimes legislation, and the mysterious nature of her.
Transgender Basics Video
A 20-minute educational film on the concepts of gender and transgender people. Two professional folks discuss basic concepts of gender - sex, identity and gender roles, and three transgender community members share their personal experiences of being trans and genderqueer. Really a fine introduction to gender and gender identity for the general public.
I'm Just Anneke
With the support of family and friends, a 12-year-old faces the onset of puberty in the fluid space between genders.
"I'm Just Anneke" is the first file in a four-part series of short films called The Youth And Gender Media Project designed to educate school communities about transgender and gender nonconforming youth.
Faces and Facets of Transgender Experience
The purpose of creating "Faces and Facets of Transgender Experience" is to reveal a glimpse into the lives of gender diverse people and their families in order to expand understanding and dispel misinformation and stereotypes. The concept is to present the positive aspects of living one's life authentically in spite of the difficulties of discrimination and resulting losses. Eighteen people and their families share touching stories about the journey from despair to the joy of being the gender they were meant to be.
The focus of the film is particularly on families with gender variant children but also presents a spectrum of ages and backgrounds of transgender persons. "Faces and Facets" is targeted for a general audience that can include educators, business people, law enforcement officers, church members, and families.
Copies may be obtained for $15, which includes an 11 page discussion guide, by credit card via PayPal from PFLAG Boulder or for $10 by ordering directly with a check made out to PFLAG Boulder sent to Rollie Butler, 7983 Grasmere, Boulder, CO 80303
Put This on the Map
“This video, which features youth raising important questions about gender and its meaning, was developed by Seattle’s “Put This on the Map” project. The link takes you to their website, where you can watch the video and learn more about the project. http://www.putthisonthemap.org/education/reteaching-gender-and-sexuality