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Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge

Keywords: transgender , children , self-esteem , epiphanies , school , exclusion , diversity

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Abstract:

This research suggests that the majority of transgender people become aware of their gender identities at a very early age. As such many transgender children go through most, if not all, of their time in compulsory education knowing their gender identity is different from that expected of them. Transgender children are characterised as “apparent” and “non-apparent”, with the vast majority being “non-apparent”. It is argued that their concealment and suppression of identity for such a long period can lead to problems.This paper examines this evidence and goes on to examine the implications of this from the point of view of children’s abilities to rationalise and understand their own situations and make sense of the conflicting pressures on them to conform to gender normative behaviour and to expectations of gender which they are ultimately unable to do. As such they may spend many years of their lives unnecessarily having to deal with feelings of guilt and shame. The consequences of this are likely to be substantial underachievement in all areas of their lives.

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