There is an ongoing debate within the medical community regarding the rights of young children who identify as transgender.
Transgendered (trans) refers to people whose gender identity does not conform with their assigned sex at birth.
Cisgendered (cis) refers to persons whose gender identity aligns with their assigned sex at birth.
Trans children begin expressing their discomfort (or gender dysphoria) through dress, behaviour, activities and attitudes early on.
Clinical sexologist Dr. Eve explains that the rights of trans children at pre-pubescent ages (from 9 to 12) are often overlooked because they are deemed too young to decide about their social or medical transition for themselves.
The varying views of activists, academics and clinicians can often leave parents feeling confused about how to support their trans children.
Dr. Eve advises that parents support their children in claiming the gender that they feel they are, but should not make life-altering changes while they are young.
I absolutely recognise the right of children to make that choice and insist that parents support that children in affirming the gender they feel they are. But I wouldn't support a parent doing life altering changes to a child.— Dr Eve, clinical sexologist
Trans woman Juanita van Zyl called in to share her personal experiences of growing up without acceptance as a trans child, and the subsequent challenges she faces.
I don't want another child to go through the daily struggles I go through everyday.— Juanita van Zyl
Dr. Eve unpacks recent cases, research evidence, medical treatments such as puberty hormonal blocking and the complexities of the debate.
8 tips on how to help and support your child: (more on Dr. Eve's website)
- use their preferred names and pronouns
- learn what they are asking for
- don't be afraid
- love your child
- be your child's advocate and respect their identity
- educate yourself about the difficulties trans people face
- allow your child to stand up for themselves
- accept that your child may or may not change their mind
Take a listen to the engaging discussion: