Schools, Families, and Communities in Action, Revised Edition
Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon
Chapter One: From Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Identity Creativity: The Liberation of Gender-Nonconforming Children and Youth
← 12 | 13 →CHAPTERONE
In September 2012 the governor of California signed the following bill: “No mental health provider shall provide minors with therapy intended to change their sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions” (CA Bill SB-1772, 2012). This statute matches the Standards of Care set forth by the World Professional Organization for Transgender Health in 2011: “Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past without success (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), particularly in the long term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965). Such treatment is no longer considered ethical” (The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, 2011, p. 16).
Not unexpectedly, as I write this chapter, court cases have already been filed challenging this legislation as a violation of individuals’ constitutional rights. Whether the legislation remains on the books or not, its existence flags a sea change in the twenty-first century world we live in, where the rights and opportunities for gender-nonconforming and transgender children and youth are being asserted at home, in the schools, in the mental health community, in the halls of justice, and in our law-making institutions.
In 1972, when I was a new faculty member at Sir George Williams University, in Montreal, Quebec,1 I received a paper from a student. We were studying gender ← 13 | 14 →at that time. In the paper, the student wrote, “Howdy Doody is a genderless...
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