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Appropriate Age for Gender Education


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The topic of educating children regarding gender has come up in my presence several times recently. The local school district educates children in 3rd grade that there is a difference between sex, gender, and sexual orientation. From what I have heard (not verified) they suggest to the children that their own gender may not match their physical sex.


There have been a number of high profile detransitions in recent years, and apparently the rate keeps growing. I wonder if this has anything to do with the early education of children on the topic. For instance, it may be that some are not actually trans, but being too immature for such knowledge they transition as a teen out of confusion. While it definitely helps those who are trans, it may be detrimental to some who aren't. Such education is necessary so that it reduces society's fear, but it may be better to wait until high school, for instance.


I don't have enough education on the topic yet to draw a conclusion, but it would be interesting to hear others' thoughts on what age is appropriate to introduce this concept to children.

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3 hours ago, Belle said:


There have been a number of high profile detransitions in recent years


Actually, the rate of de-transition has dropped and continues to do so.  There has been increased publicity over the few who do de-transition however, and there on several stories here in the Forums on how the few have been handled to make them seem like more, and many Transphobic groups have been known to simply lie about the numbers.  The de-transitioners that happen are almost all older people who do so temporarily based on employment, family, and political environments that are too great for day to day life.  Only the tiniest number of them do not re-transition when their external circumstances change.  Part of the misinformation on de-transitioning is the fact that in older studies where there was a high level of desistance in children was because some studies did include children who did not meet the clinical definition of being Trans on a multi point definition.  Recent studies have made sure to include ONLY Trans children who conform to the DSM standards of having consistent and persistent Trans traits.  Those studies show that the children are as comfortable in their identified gender as Cis gender children their age are.  All of this is based on consultation with a Child Psychology professional applying professional standards of diagnosis. 


What children are being taught at early ages is to respect the identity of other children in their classes and to be happy as they find themselves to be.  A child is encouraged to express personal identity and many parts of growing up are made gender neutral in term of favorite play activities, participation in particular groups of playmates, reading preferences and the like, without being told that an activity is "just for  boys/girls, and you SHOULD play with boys/girls"  Sadly, the state of Texas has a bad track record on what is taught and what is forced onto children with some areas being wonderful and just the opposite a few miles away.  Books that teach gender and other diversities in the youngest grades do not teach sexual differences, just identity expression. 


There are numerous studies going back 10 years ago when I came out, and before that show that children know their gender identities as young as 3 years old and the identity is set by about 4.5 to 5 years old as most of us can agree.  This is for both Cis and Trans children, so a Cis child told about Trans children, and to love them and respect them as a friend is not going to be "lead astray" into being Trans or thinking they are.  It is the child convincing the parents and not the other way, except for the reason I mentioned above. 

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I have no idea what age you should educate anyone on gender.  It was always pounded into us in my youth.  All based on your birth sex.  Period.  You are what you are born to.  This was not right but its how it was in my youth and still is in many families. 

Teaching acceptance is very important I feel.  Teaching it in school even more so since that shows the child that everyone is learning it, and lets face it, as a species that has a "follow the pack" mentality, teaching the proper things can use this mentality very well.


I guess I have questions on how parents can deal with this since they were raised "the other way" and they can be stubborn about change and being progressive or whatever.  Lets not even get religion involved here.

But take that all away and think about how you would feel knowing your child was pleading about gender change and you did not understand what it even meant.  Even if you did know about it would you be so quick to just jump on the transition band wagon for them or would you need some metal health reassurances and doctors to "make sure" this was NOT just a phase? 

I of course would take the high road.  I have always been open minded and rightly so.  I would get my child whatever chances and opportunities to see professionals to help them figure it out and then decide what is what.  With the child not for the child.  But that's me.

I feel bad for the young folks here struggling with this with their families.  But I understand where the parents are coming from too.  Its a hard thing to deal with on both sides.

I often say I wish I would of transitioned back then.  But I now wonder if I would of been able to handle it or even could of done anything.  I feel my trials and tribulations of dealing with it over the course of 40+ years definitely made things more clear once I decided to transition.  I know the hurt and pain well. I know the confusing feelings and emotions.  I lived it.

I paid my dues sort to speak and though it is still a confusing thing at times I know what I want and what I need to do and sadly what I need give up to do it.  


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13 hours ago, Belle said:

There have been a number of high profile detransitions in recent years, and apparently the rate keeps growing.

I suppose it all matters what media source you follow.  I don't see this so much.  


From what I've read, many detransitions are due to misconceptions of what life will bring.  Transitioning will not solve life's problems for anyone.  Also some people seem to jump into this without proper counseling to help them understand that change they will go through.  Its easy to underestimate the impact to all aspects of your life.  While many view this as gatekeeping I think its critical to a successful transition.  


I think children can be taught about gender when they are at the age when they start asking questions.  They all develop differently.  Its also important to just answer the question at hand.  Children seem to ask about things that are on their mind without care about other deeper aspects.  If they want to know more they will ask another question.   

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/23/2019 at 9:42 AM, Jani said:

I think children can be taught about gender when they are at the age when they start asking questions.

There is much truth to this. Much of society is divided into a female/male dichotomy, and children notice this fairly early in life.  My eldest son took ballet lessons at the age of four, and most of his (female) peers wore tutus, so we gladly bought him one when he asked.  It wasn't until he attended public school that he began to rethink his clothing choices, and that was because other children were questioning his mode of dress.  Now, he goes to school only rarely wearing the sparkly, colorful outfits he prefers.  Today, being off from school, he's wearing mint-colored leggings with a shirt to match (he has a flair for composing outfits).


I can't help but to think he would feel more free to express himself if chikldren were taught from day one to respect others, so I don't feel any age is too early.  

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  • 1 year later...
On 12/22/2019 at 8:58 PM, Belle said:

The topic of educating children regarding gender has come up in my presence several times recently. The local school district educates children in 3rd grade that there is a difference between sex, gender, and sexual orientation. From what I have heard (not verified) they suggest to the children that their own gender may not match their physical sex.



On 12/22/2019 at 11:41 PM, VickySGV said:


Actually, the rate of de-transition has dropped and continues to do so.  There has been increased publicity over the few who do de-transition however, and there on several stories here in the Forums on how the few have been handled to make them seem like more, and many Transphobic groups have been known to simply lie about the numbers.

Does either member have reference to any published data on #'s of de-transitioners  (demographics would be nice too!), data that both persons can agree on?


Also, I'm curious about a statement in the second quoted post.  Any idea how "...the few have been handled to make them seem more (i.e., other than just the outright lying claims).



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  • 2 weeks later...

The problem with finding accurate statistics on 'detransitioning' is due to an unknown number who do so without any medical guidance.  In order to know accurate data one would require knowing how many transition and how many out of that number detransition.  We really do not know, and it would be very difficult to find out.  A big problem is how much detransitioning is politicized and used to affirm certain perspectives to deny our existence in the first place.  The media has a field day with the subject matter, too.  

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