This is how one university event encouraged 'littles' to 'explore' their gender identity
'Advocacy & Allyship: Supporting Transgender Youth' was organized in partnership with the Clark-Fox Policy Institute of Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
The university's Director of Differences of Sex Development Clinic described some 'hormones or any other medical interventions' as 'irreversible' when used on 'prepubertal children.'
Washington University in St. Louis hosted a Transgender Day of Visibility event “supporting transgender youth” which criticized recent legislation concerning LGBT issues as “abhorrent” and encouraged young children to “explore” gender identity.
“Adolescence is a tender time full of profound self-discovery. Coming into your own is complicated enough,” the event description read before it was deleted.
The Mar. 31 event titled “Advocacy & Allyship: Supporting Transgender Youth” was organized in partnership with the Clark-Fox Policy Institute of Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
The panel, which included a transgender child named Myles, discussed how teachers can address “anti-trans legislation,” intersectionality of transgender hardships, children “explor[ing]” gender identity, and medical procedures for “pre-pubertal” children.
"There are systemic efforts underway across our country right now to deprive trans youth of their rights and ability to compete in sports, to access medical and mental health care, and to fully and authentically participate in their schools and communities,” the moderator, Kelly Strock, said.
Strock is the author of Gender Identity Workbook for Kids.
“Some of these laws threaten the families and medical providers who care for trans kids with child abuse charges which would result in caregivers potentially losing custody of their children, and medical providers losing their licenses," she continued.
This comment is in reference to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order classifying life-changing sex-change operations and hormone therapy for children as “child abuse.”
To “counteract” such laws, panelist Jess Jones proposed teachers "have, like a pride flag in your classroom, or any folks could add their pronoun to their email signature, or wear, like a little pin that has your pronoun."
Jones, owner of Jess Jones Education & Consulting, describes himself as “a white, queer, non-binary, neurodivergent, transgender human."
Myles, who was brought on to represent transgender youth, stated that "students should be able to use whatever bathroom they feel comfortable in."
She further explained how she realized she is transgender.
"When I was around two years old, I just told my mom straight up, ‘I don't feel like a girl.’ And obviously, I didn't," Myles said. "I didn't know what trans was then. It's kind of the same feeling that’s stayed."
Jones additionally proposed creating policy based on young people’s “ability to define for themselves who they are,” stating that adults need to listen to students because children “know what feels good to them.”
Strock told the audience that the school environment can “be the game changer” about whether children come out as transgender, “living out in the light” or wait until later on in life to do so.
Jones referred to “younger kids” as “littles” and said they start to develop their gender identity “around the age of two.”
He recommended allowing children to “just explore,” to “play dress up,” and to “play with boys toys, or girls toys, and just let them do what they’re gonna do,” noting that young children “may play around with gender expression” and find out that they are cisgender, transgender, or non-binary.
The Director of Differences of Sex Development Clinic at Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine Christopher Lewis laid out what to expect for transgender children who have not yet reached puberty from a medical point of view.
“For prepubertal children, we provide them with resources to establish care with therapists,” he said, noting that just because a child explores their gender identity, that does not mean they must go through medical procedures.
“Hormones or any other medical interventions” can be used “at certain intervals,” said Lewis, who described such processes as “irreversible” and “extensive.”
"The hardships of a trans and non-binary experience are even more sobering for transgender individuals of color,” explained Strock. “We tried really hard, and we have a bunch of really lovely people. But I want to acknowledge that despite our efforts, we do not have the perspective of a black or indigenous trans person today."
Besides Kelly Strock, Jess Jones, Christopher Lewis, and Myles, Author of "The Auditorium in my Mind/Treasuring My Transgender Child" Lisa Brennan and Executive Director of Metro Trans Umbrella Group Sayer Johnson participated in the panel as well.
The panel’s discussion which encouraged “littles” to “explore” gender identity comes during a controversy surrounding Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill which is aimed at “reinforc[ing] fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children” and prohibit “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels.”
Campus Reform reached out to Washington University and the panelists of the event for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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