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Resources for Families of Gender-Variant and Transgender Children   Tags: gender identity, gender identity disorder, gender variance, identity (psychology) in children, sex differences in children, sex role in children  

Last Updated: May 7, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About this guide

 “Our gender identity is something we feel in our soul.”  (Dr. Robin Dea)

Many of us are so comfortable with our gender that we take it for granted. 

For families of children who struggle with a different experience, we hope this guide will provide a few coordinates and some support.

Rainbow Health Ontario Fact Sheet


Recommended Books and Publications

If You Are Concerned About Your Child's Gender Behaviors: A Guide for Parents

If You Are Concerned About Your Child's Gender Behaviors: A Guide for Parents
Children's National Medical Center, Outreach Program for Children with Gender-Variant Behaviors and Their Families.

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Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities - Ken Corbett
ISBN: 9780300171211
Yale University Press, 2011.

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Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue - Nicholas M. Teich
ISBN: 9780231157131
Columbia University Press, 2012

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Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity - Andrew Solomon
ISBN: 9780743236713
Scribner, 2012.

Chapter 11 is devoted to transgender children and their families. See New York Times review under "Additional Resources."

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Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children - Rachel Pepper, editor  Icon
ISBN: 1573447889
Cleis Press, 2012



Bank Street Theses

Bridging the Gap: Exploring Transgender Identity Formation and Peer Relations of Upper Elementary Students Through the Medium of Story - Jean-Robert Andre & Jenny Medvene-Collins
Call Number: SBI 2011 A555b
Publication Date: 2011
(Site-Based Inquiry) Gender is a socially constructed binary, but what of those who don't fit neatly into male or female identities? Transgender identities are formed when biological sex, gender identity and gender expression do not conform to societal norms. This project presents research and a culminating children's storybook about a transgender child as she struggles with her identity in the face of her community.

Some Girls Play with Trains: Negotiating Gender in a Preschool Classroom - Laura Zellerbach
Call Number: T 2011 Z51s
Publication Date: 2011
This study examines children's understandings of gender roles within a classroom of three- and four-year-olds. At the end of a four-month period, the children were presented with a book that discussed gender norms. Using classic and current gender theory and research, the author analyzes these children's changing understandings and rationales concerning gender.

Traversing the Spectrum: Supporting Children with Gender Variance - Mona Weiner
Call Number: T 2008 W423t
Publication Date: 2008
Explores various theories of gender identity development in young children and seeks to provide a framework to support parents and teachers of children who are gender variant.



Ma vie en rose
1997, Belgium, Alain Berliner, director.

A Self-Made Man  Icon
2013, U.S., Lori Petchers, director.
New York premiere Saturday, 19 October 2013, 7:30 p.m., Margaret Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural History.

"This moving documentary examines the social and psychological dynamics of being transgender through an intimate portrait of trans youth advocate Tony Ferraiolo. Tony guides children as young at eight and their parents through the confusing journey of defining themselves when their physical appearance conflicts with their self-image. Even as he struggles to come to terms with the complexities of his own life as transgender person, he labors to offer safety and assurance to families immersed in an often frightening transition. A Self-Made Man navigates the issues Tony and his charges face with a tone both candid and compassionate—much like its protagonist himself."


Radio & Television

This American Life: Somewhere Out There. Act Two: Tom Girls.
"Lilly and Thomasina have a lot in common. They're both 8 years old. And they were both born boys, although it became clear pretty early on that they'd prefer to be girls. There aren't all that many kids in the world like them, but recently, at a conference in Seattle on transgender parenting, they met. And they immediately hit it off. They could talk about things with each other that they'd never been able to share with other friends back home. And that's comforting, even if they never see each other after the conference ends. Producer Mary Beth Kirchner tells the story. Rebecca Weiker is associate producer of the story." (17 minutes) Originally aired 13 February 2009.

In the Life: Becoming Me
"Eight families with transgender and gender non-conforming children ranging in ages from 5 to 25 share their stories. With the healthy development of their children at stake, parents must confront binary perceptions of gender, widespread transphobia and controversial parenting decisions." (28 minutes) 20th Season, 2012.


Additional Resources

"About a Boy Who Isn't" - Benoit Denizet-Lewis
New York Times Magazine, 26 May 2002

"Gender Identity" - Letter to the Editor
New York Times, 9 December 2006

"A Boy's Life" - Hannah Rosin
The Atlantic, November 2008

"You have to give them a place where they feel protected and safe and loved: the views of parents who have gender-variant children and adolescents" - D.B. Hill and E. Menvielle
Journal of LGBT Youth, vol. 6, nos. 2-3, 2009, pp.243-271.
(Online access available to Bank Street faculty, staff, and currently registered students.)

"Homophobia, Sexism, and Early Childhood Education: A Review of the Literature" - Thomas Scott Duke, Kathrin W. McCarthy
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, vol. 30, no. 4, 2009, pp. 385-403.
(Online access available to Bank Street faculty, staff, and currently registered students.)

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"Total Stranger, Unconditional Love: 'Far From the Tree' by Andrew Solomon" - Dwight Garner
ISBN: 9780743236713
New York Times, 13 November 2012
Review of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. Chapter 11 is devoted to transgender children and their families.


Books for Children

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10,000 Dresses - Rex Ray (Illustrator); Marcus Ewert
ISBN: 9781583228500
Seven Stories Press, 2008.

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True (... Sort Of) - Katherine Hannigan
ISBN: 9780061968730
Greenwillow Books, 2011.

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Are You a Boy or a Girl? - Karleen Pendleton Jimenez
Call Number: 813.54 P398a
ISBN: 1896781144
Toronto: Green Dragon Press, 2000.

Helpful in beginning to talk with young children about gender roles and gender-based stereotypes.

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Jacob's New Dress - Sarah Hoffman; Ian Hoffman; Chris Case (Illustrator)  Icon
ISBN: 0807563730
Albert Whitman & Company, 2014

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