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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 Thirteen: “Expanding the Circle”: Serving Children, Youth, and Families by Integrating Gender Diversity and Affirming Gender-Independent Children

← 189 | 190 →CHAPTERTHIRTEEN

Extract

Dedicated to the memory of Kyle Smith Scanlon (1971–2012), Trans Leader, Educator, and Advocate

PROLOGUE

Take a moment, sit back, and imagine …

… a bright, energetic 6-year-old child bursts into the room, dancing around in a sparkly, swirly pink dress … a child whose eyes shine even more than the dress. … You revel in watching this child dance about, satisfied that this is a happy, healthy child developing well. You remark with a smile, “Sign that girl up for dance classes!” But then the realization hits home … it’s not a girl, it’s a BOY!

Or at least, the child has a male body and, consequently, people made an automatic decision to raise the child in ways we think boys need to be guided—with trucks instead of dolls, with action figures instead of princesses, with hockey instead of ballet, to be like “Daddy” instead of “Mommy.” Now imagine you provide some kind of human service to this child or the family. Perhaps you are the child’s teacher, or a parent-child drop-in coordinator. Or perhaps you provide support services to the family, or you are a child welfare worker, mandated to protect children from ← 190 | 191 →physical, sexual, and psychological harm. What do you do? Some options may include:

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