When people ask for resources to help raise and/or support a differently gendered child, at the top of my list has long been Dr. Diane Ehrensaft’s book Gender Born, Gender Made.
I’ve officially added her latest book (released this month) to that list. The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes is another must-read from the person I’ve called the patron saint of kids who don’t conform to traditional gender norms.
Dr. Ehrensaft explains gender and children like no one can. And, in her new book, she equips adults to understand and support gender-expansive children the way they deserve to be.
I’m often asked how an adult can tell if a child is transgender or gender creative (gender nonconforming). Because I’m not an expert, I typically don’t know the child and giving the wrong answer could seriously impact the child’s life, I’m always hesitant to give my feedback.
I do say that when he was younger, C.J. would say “I wish I was a girl” and “I want to be a girl.” As many times as people told me that those phrases meant he was transgender, my mom-gut told me that wasn’t the case. There’s a difference between wanting to be something and genuinely feeling like you are something.
Of course Dr. Ehrensaft explains it better in what was, for me, the most impactful part of The Gender Creative Child.
“One simple verb will also be one of the signposts that can differentiate a young transgender child from other gender creative children. It is the verb to be. Children who are communicating to us their transgender self will often say, “I am a…(fill in opposite gender or some other gender)” rather than “I wish I were a…” or “I want to be a…” This is not universally true….but for those children who feel no necessity to hedge their bets to appease others or who have met with no confused or disapproving responses, the simple sentence “I am a…” is a very clear signpost identifying a child who is not the gender people they are.”
Want to read more? Dr. Ehrensaft will gift a copy of her book to one of my readers. To enter to win, leave a comment below. Any comment. A thought. A joke. A note. A quote. A question. Whatever.
A winner will be announced here around 5 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 29.This giveaway has ended. The winner is Yumi! Yumi, please see my reply to your comment below. Thanks to all who entered.