Tag Archives: Transgender Youth

Inclusive Catholics in Vancouver

23 Jul

ArchThank you to my friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this story. Good news in Vancouver, BC for transgender youth. Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese has adopted new policies that honor the gender identity of transgender youths. This is a huge move in the right direction for civil rights within the Catholic community.

Unfortunately, the Catholic school district did not create the new policy organically, but rather as the result of a lawsuit. Tracey Wilson, an 11 year-old transgender youth, was denied appropriate accommodations at her school and consequently left, moving to public school after her family filed a human rights complaint. While I’m sad that the Catholic school district only came to adopt the trans-inclusive policy as a result of a lawsuit, I am exceedingly happy that they are moving in the right direction regarding human rights.

While Tracey Wilson has no plans to return to the Catholic school, she offered that she hopes the new policy will help other transgender youth:

When I was going through the process of noticing my difference, I felt alone and not accepted and it was very hard…It was just a horrible process and I don’t want that to happen to anybody else.

Doug Lauson, the superintendent for Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese said, “We are people of the Catholic faith. Our schools will be as inclusive as we can while still retaining our Catholic identity.”
Fortunately here in Portland, we have an organization that advocates for the rights of Transgender youth around the world. If you know of any youth that is struggling with gender identity and or gender expression and is in need of advocacy, please contact TransActive.

Growing Up Transgender: A Child Knows

15 Dec

Thank you to my friend and fierce LGBT ally, Jennifer Lockett for inspiring this story.  While I am cisgender, (my gender assigned at birth matches the gender I identify with) we have brothers and sisters all over the world who are transgender.  Just as I knew I was gay when I was five, although I did not have the language then, there are very young kids know their gender does not match what the doctor told them.

Jonas and Wyatt Maines were born identical twins, but Wyatt knew at age four that her gender did not match what the doctor assigned at birth.  Even Wyatt’s twin brother was aware that he had a sister, as he reported to his dad at age four, “Dad, you might as well face it,’’ Wayne recalls Jonas saying. “You have a son and a daughter.’’

While the parents of these two amazing kids have had a difficult but rewarding journey, I’m in awe of them and I applaud these parents for recognizing they have a beautiful son and a beautiful daughter.  Their children have courage and know who they are.  I have to underscore how important it is that children now have access to puberty blockers and hormone therapies, so that kids can go through puberty as the gender they identify as.

There is a wonderful organization called TransActive which specifically addresses the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming youth.  If you know a family struggling with the need for resources, I encourage you to contact TransActive. Click here to read more about Wyatt and Jonas.

Support Our Transgender Youth

1 Nov

Thank you to my friend Allison for reminding me of this fantastic, poignant story of a transgender girl that is now on Youtube. I hope all of you will take the time to watch the video and listen to her story.

Fortunately, Cammie’s mother is very supportive and understanding:

My child is gender variant (Transgender)… which means that during fetal development there was insufficient testosterone which resulted in the lack of male gender identity markers in the BSTC section of the pituitary gland in her brain. The result is a child who is born a natal male with a female gender identity. Gender exists between the ears, not between the legs. Everything that makes us who we are… our character, personality, temperament, and so forth – comes from brain function. Our physical bodies… fingers, toes, genitals, arms, legs, bellybutton, etc – have no bearing on “who” we are. This video/voice recording is Cammie, expressing her thoughts and feelings about what it’s like to live with this medical condition. She is 11 years old. Her hope is that one day the world will understand this condition for what it is. She dreams of a day when she – and many others – will be loved, embraced and accepted for “WHO” they are “on the inside.

Sadly, there are a great number of parents who do not know how to be supportive.

If you or someone you know is in need of support or resources please contact TransActive.  Transgender youth and adults disproportionately suffer from bullying, harassment, and violence.  It is our responsibility to to create an environment of safety for all.

Progress for Transgender Youth

26 Sep

Yesterday, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) released its 7th Edition Standards of Care.  While there are so many fascinating and encouraging pieces of information, what I found particularly interesting and hopeful was the inclusion of expanded guidelines for care of transgender children and adolescents.

Chapter VI (pgs. 10-21) cover the Standards of Care for children and adolescents. This section represents a significant expansion of the guidelines specifically directed at providing competent and supportive care to transgender children and youth.  As soon as I read the full report, I hope to have a better idea of how hopeful we all can be as we try to care for and support our transgender youth.

Click here to see the full report. If you know of a family or of any youth that are in need of support and resources, please contact TransActive. My hope is that with more studies and more information the LGBT community will do better in supporting all of our transgender brothers and sisters.

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