Stories about: Gender Management Service

Transgender protections: Keeping kids safe

a gender neutral restroom for transgender people
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

The next time you need to use a public restroom, stand outside the door and take a moment to think about which one you should use. Would you feel safer in the ladies’ room, or would using the men’s room make you more comfortable? Now consider that the average person urinates between six and eight times a day — more often if they’re drinking a lot of fluids. Imagine facing this dilemma every time you feel the urge.

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Studies explore gender identity and children

The journal Pediatrics released two studies this week that focused on the mental and physical wellbeing of children who don’t conform to typical gender roles.

The first study, led by Children’s Hospital Boston researcher S. Bryn Austin, ScD, indicates that kids who fail to adapt traditional gender stereotypes as children are at a significantly greater risk for physical, sexual and psychological abuse during childhood. These children are also more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in young adulthood.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Health and compiled data from almost 9,000 young adults. Participants were asked to recall their childhood experiences, including their favorite toys and games growing up. The types of charters they related to as children, which roles they adopted during pretend play and their earliest understanding of masculinity and femininity where all reported on as well. Researchers also asked participants to disclose information about any physical, sexual or emotional abuse they experienced at the hands of parents, other adults or older children. Finally, participants were screened for PSTD.

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Children's gives transgender tween new hope

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Once you’ve read this story, make sure to check out the essay by the twins’ father as he discusses what it’s like to raise a transgender child.

Although born identical twins with matching DNA, Tom* and Ryan were two immensely different children. As toddlers, Tom entertained himself with toy trucks while Ryan fawned over his girl cousin’s Barbies and Little Mermaid dolls. Photo after photo of them at that age show Ryan with a t-shirt wrapped around his head, mimicking long, flowing hair. At age 4, he asked his mom, Cecelia, a heartbreaking question: When do I get to be a girl? A few months later, while assisting his dad, Dennis, with a plumbing job, he told him that he hated his own penis. Dennis choked up. “I cried and he cried, and then his brother came in and we all hugged and cried,” he says.

When he was 6, his parents sought professional advice. A local psychiatrist diagnosed Ryan with gender identity disorder (GID) or transgenderism, a rare condition in which a biological male or female feels a strong identification with the opposite sex and is extremely uncomfortable with his or her own gender.

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