Trans children, like all children, deserve to be safe and supported
Sadly, children have become a political wedge issue for some of our elected officials. This past year at the General Assembly there were several bills targeting Trans children. Many politicians described trans children as a threat and kids that should be feared. Every child is filled with tremendous promise, and we have a shared obligation to foster their potential. All children deserve safe, stable and nurturing relationships so they can reach their full potential.
Public health research shows us that Trans children are actually more likely to be victims of assault:
Transgender and gender nonbinary adolescents experience high rates of sexual assault victimization during middle and high school. Being denied access to gender identity–congruent school restrooms and locker rooms is associated with sexual assault risk.
The most important thing for children is to have safe, supportive, and loving adults who care for them and make sure their needs are met. If you’re confused about how to protect and care for trans children, this article from ChildMind provides a great overview:
Gender is expressed through one’s personality, appearance and behavior — typically as either masculine or feminine. Children may start to question their gender identity as young as two or three years of age, when they become aware of the notion of gender and they may assert, “No, I’m a boy,” or “No, I’m a girl.”
Exploring different modes and expressions of gender is a normal part of development during childhood. Young kids often playact favorite characters of a different gender, or enjoy playing dress-up. Most eventually assume the identity of their assigned gender. For some children, gender remains fluid. These kids often identify as non-binary.
Some trans or non-binary kids, when they are young, don’t associate with either male or female gender expression in things like clothing, toys, activities and preferences in friends. They stay neutral, and in some cases never develop a strong identity as male or female.
Because children spend so much of their time in school, it’s important to make sure children feel safe and are supported in their school environment. This article from ChildMind about how to support trans children in school explores the topic:
Dr. Woodward says that the appropriate level of parental involvement can depend on the child’s age, ‘but it can also depend on where the child is at in their gender identity journey and what their comfort level is with these things.’ The ultimate goal for parents is to help kids become their own advocates, on whatever timeline works for them.