Gender identity evolves as an interplay of biology, development, socialisation and culture, writes clinical sexologist Dr Eve.
In other words it is a construct of multiple intersections, with gender diversity remaining a challenge for parents, families , educators and religious leaders to either accept or grasp.
In this week's Talking Sex segment, Dr Eve elaborates on her latest blog post and shares guidelines for parents by beginning the conversation with a breakdown of the terminology around gender diversity - she says this your first step into your child’s world.
The terms include:
gender expression, gender-diverse, trans or transgender, cisgender, trans boy/male/man, trans girl/female/woman. The latter describes someone who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a girl/female/woman.
What research shows is that when children get supported by families, that is when they thrive. That is when they really are able to take it on and to be integrated into a society which they obviously have a right to be part of.— Dr Eve, Clinical sexologist
Focusing on the transgender community, Dr Eve says children are able from a young age to claim their gender identity. However, there is research that suggests youngsters should not go on to transition before they reach puberty.
I am wanting us to broaden the definition of transgender into gender-diverse. Not all kids are specifically saying I want to completely reassign to being the opposite sex, but actually I am just diverse right now in the way that I express myself and I don't know how I am going to be once I hit puberty.— Dr Eve, Clinical sexologist
So you want to be observing your child and mostly respecting that your child is not saying 'I want to cut off my penis'.— Dr Eve, Clinical sexologist
Caller, Mark has a transgender son who is transitioning and says while the family's own transition has been relatively easy, the problem has been with peers and the school he attends.
We have had such a struggle... bathroom issues with teachers saying to him 'you can't use the boys' bathroom because do you have a penis?'. To the extent that I had to sit in the principal's office and ask him if he has a penis so he could understand just how uncomfortable and inappropriate it is to be questioning someone's genitalia.— Mark, Caller
The thing that really assisted me in a massive shift is my son was incredibly depressed... at the point he then came out, my wife said 'I would rather have a happy son than a dead daughter'.— Mark, Caller
Click on the link below to hear more stories and experiences.: