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Supporting Transgender and Gender-Creative Youth

Schools, Families, and Communities in Action, Revised Edition


Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon

Supporting Transgender and Gender-Creative Youth brings together cutting-edge research, social action methods, and theory on the topic of transgender youth and gender creative kids. The chapters included specifically address issues in education, social work, medicine, and counseling as well as challenges and recommendations for families and parents. It is well researched and accessible to a broad audience of individuals invested in improving the social worlds of gender diverse children and youth.
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Chapter Two: Health and Well-Being among Gender-Independent Children and Their Families: A Review of the Literature

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Recent years have seen an increase in public and media interest in gender-independent children—children who do not conform to social gender norms (Park, 2011; Weathers, 2011; Witterick, 2011). Outspoken parents and advocates are increasingly seeking recognition for gender-independent children and demanding their right to be safe and supported in their families, schools and communities (Kilodavis, 2010; “My Son’s Christmas Dress,” 2012; Trans Youth Family Allies [TYFA], 2013). However, the availability of supportive community-based health and social services for these families has often been lacking due to a history of pathologizing research that has framed gender independence as an illness in need of clinical treatment (for example, see Zucker & Bradley, 1995). In January 2012, Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) responded to the absence of community-based services for gender-independent children in Ontario, Canada, by launching the Gender-Independent Children Project.

Operational since 2008, RHO is a province-wide program that works to improve the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Ontario through education, research, outreach and public policy advocacy. RHO is a program of the Sherbourne Health Center in downtown Toronto, a centre that has been providing comprehensive primary health programs and services to LGBT communities since 2003. Although RHO’s mandate is focused on adult populations, the organization’s expertise in LGBT health issues has led to ← 26 | 27 →requests for consultation regarding gender-independent children. The purpose of the project is to build capacity among health and social service providers to provide community-based support for gender-independent...

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