How to empower trans and gender non-conforming children

It seems more kids are growing up with flexible and fluid views on gender identity.

Many children are beginning to express their own authentic gender, separate from their biological sex and gender assignment from birth.

Read: Trans kids need to be supported (not surpressed) by parents, says Dr Eve

Clinical psychologist Stephanie Bové says children can begin to express signs of transgender and non-binary identities as young as three years of age.

She says a child may begin to clearly define their gender identity in the adolescent period (10 to 19 years), using and asserting the gender pronouns that they prefer.

Also read: 10 things you should know about millennial parents

Bové encourages parents to create a holistically accepting environment at home for gender non-conforming children.

She explains that South African schools have a long way to go in allowing children to express their gender identity, in connection with uniform policies, assigned bathrooms, and prescribed sports.

Bové says schools should invest in gender neutral bathrooms and other measures to help embrace non-binary identities.

If you walk into many public and private schools, you won't necessarily come across a gender neutral bathroom environment, which is essential for schools to be applying.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

We are not just viewing everything as binary.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Children that are extremely creative in terms of their gender expression are not just acting out or struggling with identity.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

They're inviting us to imagine and embody a world where gender is no longer a defining category.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Children are far more apt at being able to understand that there's no such thing as girls' toys or boys' toys; just really about people toys.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Bové offered empowering advice on raising children with fluid gender views and answered pressing questions.

Take a listen to the insightful discussion during the Family Matters feature:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How to empower trans and gender non-conforming children


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