University promotes material advising parents to facilitate gender transition despite child's 'uncertainty'

A prestigious New York college has a webpage dedicated to providing resources to parents with transgender children.

Among other things, the linked materials make claims about transgender four year olds and encourage the inclusion of trans resources at daycares.

On a webpage meant to provide resources to parents of transgender children, the University of Rochester links to materials promoting gender transitions in kids as young as four years old.

The page links to three primary resource banks: the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, Mermaids: Family Support Group for Children and Teenagers with Gender Identity Issues, and TransYouth Family: Understanding Through Education. All three organizations purport to provide support to transgender minors, adolescents and young adults.

Also linked are two books concerning the relationship between parents and their transgender youths.

TransYouth Family, one of the organizations linked to by the university, describes itself as an organization that aims to “[empower] children and families by partnering with educators, service providers and communities, to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected.”

Specifically, the group seeks to “educate and inform schools, healthcare professionals, daycare centers, courts and legal representatives, child welfare agencies and communities about discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression” while also eliminating gender-based harassment and informing parents.

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One of the documents featured on the TransYouth Family’s page suggests that children as young as 4 can be "gender variant" and  encourages parents to raise their children in a gender neutral way, advising that “forcing gender conformity may cause depression, anxiety, malaise, or even suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.”

The same document explains that though “sometimes children express anxiety or uncertainty about transition,” that doesn’t mean “that they don’t want to transition; they just may not have the ability to understand what the benefits/challenges of it may be.” The document continues by encouraging parents to conduct an “experiment” by taking a "trip away from home" for several days to allow the child to "express themselves in their perceived gender full time" as a way to respond to a child doubting whether or not he or she is transgender. 

Another piece of text featured on the website promoted by the U Rochester titled “How Young is Too young?” reiterates that children as young as four should explore their gender and recounts the story of an 11-year-old girl that is taking estrogen blockers as well as another who began taking testosterone at age 12.

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Another one of the groups promoted by Rochester, the UK based “Mermaids” advances similar narratives as TransYouth Family. However, Mermaids also has a history of providing support to parents who are forcing their children to be transgender against their will.

In one high profile case, a British court had to remove a young boy from his mother’s care because he had been forced into “living life entirely as a girl.” Court documents show that lower authorities had initially overlooked the case, in part, because the mother was receiving support from the group. Mermaids, not being composed of medical professionals but rather parents who believe their children to be transgender, is also active in lobbying the UK’s government for the advancement of supposed transgender rights.

Despite all this, the group claims that it “does not encourage, influence or direct young people or their families to pursue any one pathway.”

Campus Reform reached out to all organizations mentioned above; this article will be updated accordingly.