Supporting gender nonconforming children
Creating a school climate at Mitchell School where children and families feel safe enough to express themselves authentically and not feel afraid is a goal for us. If we are truly about helping students, that means that as a community we need to become more educated on ways to support gender
nonconforming children. I've selected some excellent articles and resources that I invite you to read and discuss. Gender roles pressure children to conform in ways that might limit their full potential.
If you have some time to dedicate to listening to a thoughtful discussion, I encourage you to listen to The Diane Rehm Show - Understanding Gender Nonconforming Children The summary is as follows:
Throughout history, there have always been people who defied gender norms. Research shows gender identity is formed in early childhood. Kids as young as 2 or 3 years old can already show strong preferences to play with and dress like the opposite gender. Girls who want to play sports and wear pants are mostly accepted as “tomboys” but boys who want to play with dolls or dress in pink and purple face a tougher road. They are often bullied by peers and rejected by parents and relatives. A few of these children will grow into transgender adults where they will face more disapproval, even as society becomes more open. Guest host Susan Page and a panel of experts discuss gender nonconforming children and the challenges they present for parents and schools.
Raising my Rainbow - Today show
Harvard Gazette - repercussions of gender nonconformity
CNN.com - health child-gender nonconformity
And lastly, Welcoming Schools is a project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and is an LGBT-inclusive approach to addressing family diversity, gender stereotyping and bullying and name calling in K-5 learning environments. Their website is rich with booklists, action plans, research, and teachable moments, many of which we are using here at Mitchell School.