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Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth

Schools, Families, and Communities in Action

Series:

Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon

Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth brings together cuttingedge research, social action methods, and theory on the topic of transgender youth and gender creative children. Organized in three sections covering theoretical and clinical, educational, and community perspectives, the chapters specifically address issues and challenges in education, social work, medicine, and counseling as well as recommendations that are relevant for parents, families, practitioners, and educators alike. The result is a well-researched and accessible book that will provide support and knowledge to a broad audience of individuals invested in improving the social worlds of gender diverse children and youth.
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Chapter One: From Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Identity Creativity: The Liberation of Gender-Nonconforming Children and Youth

← 12 | 13 →CHAPTERONE

Extract

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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