..y’all realize that shit like this is specifically to create an emotional connotation in kids’ minds between gender nonconformity and being dangerous, right? Like it’s called queer-coding and there is a reason why gender nonconformity in children’s media is almost always presented to the highest degree in villains.
all that stuff with the really young trans children makes my heart hurt. gender nonconforming children especially gay ones deserve so much better than to think their parents won’t love them if they express themselves as they are. I can’t even imagine having this type of media spotlight at such a young age for something they will statistically change their minds on later. I hope people will be as apparently accepting as they are now if/when these kids decide to detransition…
Wonderful parent award: Martie Todd Sirois, a mom in North Carolina, wrote an open letter to the clothing store Justice for making sure her gender nonconforming child could try on clothes safely and happily.
Her child, Charlie, doesn’t identify with any particular gender (and uses he/him pronouns) and feels “truly himself” when he’s in more traditionally feminine clothes. He had long admired Justice, a store that advertises itself as “just for girls,” and wanted to shop there. So she worked with other parents of gender nonconforming kids and with reps from the store to make sure Charlie could have the shopping experience of a lifetime, free of judgement.
After mentioning her concerns in a support group for parents of gender-nonconforming children, help starting pouring in to plan a shopping trip. One mother in the group actually showed up at the store to speak with a manager in person, while another purchased a gift card for Charlie.
One of the store’s managers, Stephnie, assured the family that “everyone is welcome at Justice.” Sirois wrote that on the Friday afternoon they arrived at the store, her son’s eyes were “huge and overwhelmed with possibilities.”
“With Stephnie, who basically took on the role of personal shopper for the evening, I felt completely safe,” Charlie’s mom said of the shopping spree. “There were only a few other customers in and out of the store, so it was mostly private, but I felt that if anyone said anything rude, she would intervene.”
They left the store with two bags filled with new clothes.
She wrote in the letter:
After getting a feel for what colors, textures, and patterns he liked, Stephnie showed us several possibilities, from sequined mini skirts to slim jeggings. My son LOVED them all. We went to the changing room, and my son couldn’t get those clothes on fast enough. Once that first outfit was on, he posed and admired himself in the mirror, spun around in circles to see the skirt poof out, and studied himself from all angles in every possible combination of outfits. It was pure joy. My son dropped his frequent doom and gloom look and suddenly sprang to life in these clothes. There was no denying he became a different, more confident, and happier child when wearing pretty things.
It’s also important to recognize that this is in North Carolina, land of HB2, where beautiful families like this one could so easily be turned away for not fitting into a box that’s already been checked for them. But that’s not what happened.
This is beautiful; every kid deserves a loving family who will support their expression and self-discovery like this, and it’s even better when there’s an unexpected ally helping out. I mean, just look at this face:
Raising a child who doesn’t conform to gender roles is a minefield, for even the most supportive parents. How do you let your children be themselves while also protecting them from bullies? That question led a number of parents to organize an annual four-day camp in the wilderness for their kids.
The result was an annual long-weekend camp that serves nearly 30 families, many of whom met several years ago through a therapy group for gender-nonconforming children in Washington, D.C. It started in a few hotel rooms in D.C. and evolved into a real camp usually held at religious retreats in various rural settings around the country. The children, ages 6 to 12, attend with their parents and siblings.
In 2007, Sag Harbor photographer Lindsay Morris began attending camp. She took pictures of the children and their families to document their camp experience. But as the years passed and her photo library grew, Morris thought about doing something more with the pictures. In 2012, thanks to the courage of some of the families, Morris’ photographs appeared in a cover story for the New York Times Magazine. The book, titled You Are You, is an expansion of that project.
At camp, the children do all the typical camp things. They canoe, they craft, they roast marshmallows. Almost all of the children are biological boys who like to wear girl’s clothing. The weekend culminates in a fashion show with the works: red carpets, a runway, and fans to blow the kids’ hair back. “We try to make them feel fabulous,” says Morris, “I think it helps carry them through the year — the memory of their parents and siblings in the audience clapping for them.”
StoryCorps’ OutLoud initiative records stories from the LGBTQ community.
Kiyan Williams, 23, grew up in a rough neighborhood in Newark, N.J. During childhood, Williams felt isolated and different from other kids — something Williams’ family began to notice around age 4.
“Me and my mother are at a friend’s house, and Mary J. Blige is playing,” Williams tells his friend Darnell Moore during a StoryCorps interview in New York City. “Mary was my girl at that moment — she knew all my life struggles.”
Last month, IN THE LIFE generated unprecedented buzz with the release of Becoming Me, a look at the real-life experiences of eight families with transgender and gender nonconforming children. While mainstream media coverage portrays transgender children as a spectacle, IN THE LIFE elevates the discussion beyond transphobic sensationalism. Becoming Me is being used as a resource for parents and an educational tool for social service providers.
One of the main reasons CHOP was named a leader in LGBT healthcare is the opening of a clinic serving trans youth:
In January CHOP opened The Gender & Sexuality Development Clinic to serve the needs of gender-variant, gender-nonconforming and transgender children and youth up to 21 years of age and their families. A multidisciplinary team including pediatric specialists in gender, adolescent medicine, endocrinology, and mental health offers assessment, medical and psychosocial support for patients and their families. CHOP is one of a handful of pediatric hospitals with a formal program that serves this often underserved patient population.