Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

Ask Miss Night: Transgendered Kindergarten Student

on 29 September, 2013

Hello friends!

I know it has been a long time since I wrote an Ask Miss Night column, and today’s post actually came to me “through the grapevine,” and is a little sensitive.

Through a dear #kinderchat friend, I have been in touch with a parent of a kindergarten aged child who is biologically a girl, but who identifies as a boy. Obviously, this is a difficult path for both Mom and child, and they have experienced some pretty significant rejection by other family members, friends, and their church community. Mom is looking for any resources, articles, links, support communities, books, to help her and her child feel less isolated and alienated as they negotiate this reality. She needs support for herself and her child, as well as resources to help the rest of her family, school, and community understand what it means to be trans-gendered.

If you ask me, she is a brave, strong, amazing mother, who would also benefit from hearing some supportive messages from educators and parents. ANY resources, contacts, suggestions you have would be most welcome, as this is outside of my area of expertise, and I don’t have any direct experience with young children who are transgendered.

I want to be clear that I am not looking for (and will promptly delete) any debate about the morality/legitimacy of transgendered children.  I’d like us all to be able to deepen our understanding, while helping this mom and her child feel less alone. Please share any links and resources in the comments. If you’d like to pass something on directly to this mom, in a more confidential way, feel free to e-mail me, and I will pass on your stories and comments, back through the grapevine, to this Mom.

I know that the biggest, wisest, most generous, most open hearts on the whole internet are readers of this blog, and I KNOW we can give this mom and her child a safe harbour.


11 Responses to “Ask Miss Night: Transgendered Kindergarten Student”

  1. Sarah S. says:

    I know a family with a child who was born Grace, but is now asking to be called George. It started when he was in kindergarten. This is the first school year he has gone to school as a boy. It has been difficult for the child, family, and staff, but all are trying to be very supportive. My friend gave me this blog link as a great resource for other parents of transgendered children: http://transparenthood.net/

  2. Miss Night says:

    Thanks SO MUCH to all who have shared resources here (and please continue doing so)! To consolidate the links shared here, the resources shared on Facebook, and some additional information that was sent to me via e-mail, I have started a Pinterest board for resources around young children and gender. You can check it out here: http://www.pinterest.com/happycampergirl/kids-gender/

  3. Jen Audley says:

    This post by a 1st grade teacher, “It’s Okay to Be Neither,” seemed really insightful when I read it a few years ago: http://togetherforjacksoncountykids.tumblr.com/post/14314184651/one-teachers-approach-to-preventing-gender-bullying-in I hope it’s helpful!

  4. K. Lirenman says:

    I messed up on some of the links in my comment. Try these ones for the ones that don’t work below http://www.wpath.org, http://www.sexualityandu.ca http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/trans-toolkit

  5. Danielle says:

    Hi! I just wanted to raise a point, isn’t kindergarten a bit young to identify? The only reason I say this is because (I am a female) and as a child, I identified as a boy. I clearly remember arguing with my friend’s parents, stating that I would be a boy when I grew up. My mother, who is very open, assumed the same thing as this child’s mother. However, as an adult, I am very much a straight female. To be sure, I am still athletic and “boyish,” but my whole boy phase ended when I entered puberty.

    My sister has a child just like this. She too assumes this is for life. It is painful when the children get teased, however, I think it is far too early to assume anything about the child’s future identity. Just a thought.

    • Miss Night says:

      Hi Danielle

      I think the point is that, even if this child changes gender identity multiple times over several years, his mother is in need of resources to support and understand that process, and to help others understand what gender identity is, what it means, how it works. Right NOW this child, who is biologically female, is identifying as a boy, and he deserves to be able to do that in an atmosphere of respect.

  6. faige says:

    Will ask at work what resources we have available that I can share with you. Have you looked at http://www.teaching Tolerance or http://www.stopbullying.gov

  7. anon says:

    At my husband’s school, they allocated one of the single ‘teacher’ bathrooms as a ‘public’ bathroom for this reason. Any person is able to use the bathroom without having to identify as male/female. By having it ‘public’ the stigma of male/female is removed. Not a huge ground breaking idea, but still, it’s the little things sometimes that can make life easier.

  8. K. Lirenman says:

    Timing probably couldn’t be better as I just learned a bit about Transgendered kids this past week and i have resources to share that where shared with me.

    Some websites I was encouraged to explore for more information include http://transhealth.vch.ca, http://www.wpath.ca, http://www.sexualityvandu.ca, http://www.publichealth.gc.ca/stu, http://www.gires.org.uk, http://www.genderspectrum.org/, and http://www.lamdelegal.org/take-action/tool-kits/getting-down-to-basics/tran-youth.html

    Some of the children’s books that were recommended included 10,000 Dresses by M. Wert & R. Ray, When Kathy is Keith by Dr. Wallace Wong, and My Princess Boy by Cheryl Ki lodavis.

    Some adult books recommended include Supporting Transgender Students in k-12 Schools – Canadian Teacher’s Federation; Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr, The Transgender Child by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper, and Gender Identity in School – Public Health Canada.

    I hope this helps.

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