Stanford Launches Short Online Course to Boost Understanding of Transgender Kids

 

In 2011, Stanford Medicine lecturer Maya Adam, MD, had just finished teaching her undergraduate course on critical issues in child health when a student approached her with some feedback. “I loved your class, but you are missing one issue,” the student said. “You need a lecture on transgender children’s health.”

Adam’s response was “You’re right … but I know so little about that.” Her own medical training had never mentioned transgender children; she was unsure what difficulties they faced. Adam soon realized this knowledge gap was common, not just among physicians but also among teachers and other professionals who work with kids.

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Capture Bonding: How I Both Need and Grieve My Gender Transition

If we were to believe the dominant narratives around gender transition, we could only conclude that it’s a magical, affirming, and life-giving process. With these stories—and the glorious “before and after” photos that accompany them—we’re told that the uncomplicated truth of transition is that when the transformation is complete, we emerge on the other side whole and shimmering.

I am not whole, nor am I shimmering.

I often wonder: Can it be true that I can’t inhabit this body anymore—with its curves and parts that alienate me—but am still bonded to it? Top surgery is on the horizon for me. While I can’t fathom living the rest of my life with this chest, a part of me is grieving this loss. These curves were always guests (never residents), but their absence still means something to me.

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HOW (NOT) TO TEACH GENDER

 

Funnily enough, my students couldn’t care less about the words I use to describe myself, and I am fine with that. Christine used the language she knew to ascertain my gender identity; tomboy has always been a socially acceptable term for a boyish little girl. (As long as she grows out of it by high school.)

I offer up this story about Christine not to show how wonderful a teacher I was in that moment. In fact, I probably tried too hard. As for the theater director, there were many other times in my childhood when adults questioned my gender presentation. They made me feel abnormal, small, and invisible, which is another way of saying they did not see me—not as I saw myself, anyhow. I get mis-gendered every day, and I still feel abnormal, small, and invisible from time to time.

I offer up these stories to show how deeply painful one teacher’s words were. Preconceived notions of gender are like a thick fog that has always been there; we will only notice how much we weren’t seeing when it finally lifts. Those who defy gender roles may stick out like a sore thumb. As teachers, we may never know when we are making a student feel abnormal, small, or invisible.

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Judge: Gender Laws Are at Odds With Science

 

“This physiological truth is unrelated to whether someone is straight, gay or transgender. Many individuals are born with sex chromosome, endocrine or hormonal irregularities, and their birth certificates are inaccurate because in the United States birth records are not designed to allow doctors to designate an ambiguous sex. Countless people likely have no idea that they fall into this group. The more we learn about our DNA, the more that biological sex — from the moment of conception — looks like an intricate continuum and less like two tidy boxes. This understanding makes it virtually impossible for judges to consistently apply a law that permits or prohibits conduct based on whether someone is a man or a woman.”

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If physical illness were treated like mental illness

Are You Respecting Your Transgender Loved Ones?

“When I first came out as transgender, I was surprised to find that many people in my life wanted to support me. I received a lot of encouraging words, often from the folks I least expected.

It meant the world to me to be surrounded by people who just wanted me to be myself and be happy! In a society that can often be so hostile towards transgender people, having loved ones in our corner can make all the difference.

But I quickly realized that there’s a distinction between stating your support and actually respecting my identity. A lot of people talked the talk – but that didn’t always translate when it came to actions.”

See the tips here.

Why Emotional Fluency is Key for a Successful Relationship

It’s a skill that’s very much learnable, but probably not covered in your fancy liberal-arts education, unless you went to a super-progressive school. “We’re just not trained to speak in emotional language,” Gleason says. But in an intimate relationship, you’re constantly feeling some sort of emotion, whether it’s longing or anxiety or joy. So it would behoove those of us interested in having actual long-term, growth-oriented relationships (they’re possible, really!) to be able to put those emotions into words, to have a medium for your partner to know what’s going on. “The more that we’re able to put into some sort of language and convey it to our partner, that these are my inner experiences right now, the more empathy there is in the relationship,” he says. “The obverse of that is that the less I can say, this is my inner experience, the more my partner is going to be reacting to my outer behavior, oftentimes with judgement and frustration, rather than where they would relate to your experience with empathy.”

 

Read the full article here.

Maybe Monogamy isn’t the Only Way to Love?

“Her book examines the long, sometimes awkward legacy of philosophers’ thinking on romantic love, and compares that with a new subfield in close-relationships research — consensual nonmonogamy, or CNM. While singers and thinkers alike have been riffing on a “one and only” for decades, she argues that space is being made in the cultural conversation to “question the universal norm of monogamous love, just as we previously created space to question the universal norm of hetero love.” These norms are more fluid than they appear: In Jenkins’s lifetime alone, same-sex and cross-ethnicity relationships have become common.”

Read the full article here.

Tips To Calm An Anxious Child

” Imagine you are driving in the car. You look in the rearview mirror and see your child trying to shrink into her seat.

 

“What’s wrong?” you ask.

 

“I don’t want to go to the birthday party.”

 

“But you’ve been excited all week. There will be cake and games and a bounce house. You love all of those things,” you try to reason.

 

“But I can’t go. There will be lots of people there I don’t know. No one will play with me. My tummy hurts.”

 

Sound familiar? As a parent of an anxious child, you might regularly find yourself in situations where no matter what you try, what effort you make, what compassion you offer, or what love you exude, nothing seems to help quash the worry that is affecting your little one’s everyday interactions.

 

In my work with anxious children, I have found it tremendously beneficial for both parents and kids to have a toolkit full of coping skills from which to choose. As you know, every child is different and some of the tools described below will resonate more than others. When you pick one to work with, please try it at least two to three times before making a judgment on whether it suits your child and family.

Don’t Worry If You Always Worry

“For most people, worrying is a form of problem-solving where you look at challenges in the future and work them out before they happen, which can be constructive. Researchers call this adaptive worrying and have identified the top five areas that people worry most about: relationships, finances, work, lack of confidence and an “aimless future. But some people worry too much. Chronic worriers fret all the time, about everything. Pathological worriers are chronic worriers whose apprehension affects their functioning. They’re just as likely to fret over a real problem, such as a job setback, as they are to stew over something that may not be a problem at all, say the weather next week.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Why Forcing Positivity Won’t Make You Happy

” The harder you push, the worse it gets. We think forcing ourselves to think and feel optimistically will relieve the anguish, but all that actually does is backfire. Choosing to ignore negative feelings is like leaving garbage to pile up and pretending its not there anymore. You may decide to disregard it for a while, but eventually it will spill over and start to smell.”

Read the full article here.