Having an Open Attitude to Kids’ Gender Identity
Posted on Aug 29, 2006
Two private elementary schools in Oakland, California, have adapted to a phenomenon known as gender variance?when kids identify as the opposite sex. Some grow out of it, some don’t, but the schools’ open attitude is meant to bolster self-esteem and avoid the kind of scars that can follow children into adulthood.
Of course not everyone is thrilled at the idea, one conservative group saying, “God made us male and female, and God makes no mistakes. To teach a child at an early age self-hatred, and that’s what this gender variance is, is very sad.”
But a Bay Area psychiatrist who leads a support group for gender variance argues: “It’s really important that the public be aware this is not something parents can turn their kids into. The data is very clear on this.”
San Francisco Chronicle:
Park Day’s staff members are among a growing number of educators and parents who are acknowledging gender variance in very young children. Aurora School, another private elementary school in Oakland, also is seeing children who are “gender fluid” and hired a clinical psychologist to conduct staff training.
Children with gender variant behaviors feel intensely that they want to look and act like the other sex. They prefer toys and activities typical of the opposite gender. Signs usually start appearing between the ages of 2 and 4.
For some children, it’s a passing phase. Some grow up to be heterosexual, some gay. Some children insist they are the opposite sex although they might have a hard time explaining it. One nurse therapist said a boy once told her, “I think I swallowed a girl.”
Photo: zauberbilder.de / Illustration: Peter Scheer