In the title slide there is the word Transphobic,. I am sure you all know that PHOBIA means fear, hatred, aversion. But what does TRANS mean? The word Transsexual should not be used on it’s own. It has acquired too many stigmas, trans people find it offensive. Trans and Transgender are more acceptable. Which brings us to the term Transsexuality.
We are thinking of trans children, they can be aware they are transgendered from the age of 4 upwards, but the average age for having gender reassignment surgery is 42. So it can be a long, lonely and painful process.
Who are these people, commonly known as transpeople?
Because psychiatrists play a major role to ensure that there are no underlying psychiatric issues or problems we must accept …… SUGGESTION for presenter: refer to these notes, and if resources allow, copy them notes into a handout for participants to take away, along with copies of the presentation itself At around the seventh week the genetic switch is triggered, in no particular order the following occur:- The chromosomal configuration takes place (XX = female, XY = male); Gonadal differentiation (ovaries or testicles); Differentiation of internal and external genitalia. But…possibly before or after this has happened there is the differentiation of the brain into male or female – could it be that an abnormal amount of cross-sex hormones is released at this stage? (Speaker from The Free Hospital, Amsterdam. GENDYS’94)
How do I recognise a child who is transsexual? The quick answer is with great difficulty! Mermaids has produced a list of 28 possible signs that may or may not indicate that a child has gender identity disorder, just a few are shown here. (The rest are available as a handout.) The need is for anyone close to the child to be sensitive to their behaviour, if any of the observations are persistent have a chat with someone at Mermaids and take their advice.
Unfortunately it does – a research project published by Press for Change showed that --- slide This is a publication well worth reading as it has extensive case studies and factual information.
There are many sources of statistics, but the ones I show here are probably the most reliable. As an aside nearly 2,000 adults were referred to the main GIC at Charing Cross in the last 12 months. Our own GIC, The Laurels at Exeter has had 108 referrals in the same period. It is expected that there will be a steady increase in the number of children coming forward.
When a child shows signs of any identity confusion. But remember the observations from the last slide. Many children with gender issues can go on to be heterosexual, or gay and be happy with their birth gender. A child in the process of transitioning – most likely the process started in Primary School. This is what happened when a school (allegedly) wasn’t prepared, resulting in the child being bullied by parents and pupils, the child and her parents being unnecessarily stressed.
5. You are not alone. There is a wealth of information and support available including PHSE Advisers
There is a handout available with lists of helpful organisations, and publications. The three key ones are shown on this slide.
Schools - Help prevent transphobic bullying
To provide you with information ...
which will give you understanding
enable you to support Transgender
help you to address and prevent
‘Everyone is an insider, there
are no outsiders – whatever
their beliefs, whatever their
colour, gender or sexuality.’
Archbishop Desmond Tutu February 2004
A ‘Trans’ spectrum
Trans is an abbreviation and umbrella term for
a spectrum of people whose gender identity is
different from their birth sex - Transgender.
It is also an abbreviation for Transsexual
(e.g. and only where necessary, transman/boy or
Appear in every culture – not just a ‘Western Thing’.
Have existed through recorded history.
Cross all economic and class boundaries.
Are both men and women.
Are not ‘sick’ or ‘defective’ or ‘mentally ill –
‘Gender Dysphoria’ is a medical condition.
Are simply part of natural variation.
Want no more than to be themselves, in peace.
Need the assistance of medicine to reach that goal.
Source:- Christine Burns MBE Past Vice President Press for Change.
What is Transsexuality?
A persistent discomfort with the sex assigned to
the person at birth; a deep sense of
inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex
A strong and ongoing desire to live and be
accepted as the sex with which they identify.
A wish to have hormonal treatment, and
possibly, surgery to make one’s body match
one’s psychological sex
What it is not ...
This is not a mental illness but increasingly
understood to have its origins before birth.
Research suggests that a small part of the
baby’s brain progresses along a different
pathway from the sex of the rest of its body.
(Source GIRES 2011)
Recognising gender dysphoria
There are various clues that may point to gender
‘Mermaids’ provides information and support for
families, teenagers and children with gender
Evidence of transphobic
Half of those born male who identify as female
Two thirds of those born female who identify as male
Physical abuse and even unwanted sexual behaviours
occur in a majority of reported cases.
Around a quarter of survey participants had been
bullied by teachers.
Teachers who are trans had been bullied by staff and
Source – Engendered Penalties. S.Whittle; S.Turner and M. Al-Alami.
Press for Change www.pfc.org.uk
Children usually know how they fit within the gender spectrum by
about age 4 or 5.
A quarter of transgender children have attempted suicide, and a
further 25 per cent have considered suicide.
Why should schools take
A school with 1,000 pupils will have 6 who experience
transgenderism during their lives.
Others are likely to have a transgender parent or
Before puberty 60 out of 1,000 pupils are likely to
same sex orientation that may be difficult
to distinguish from gender dysphoria.
In a staff of 170 there may be one transgender person.
When might transphobic
When a child shows signs of any identity confusion.
A child in the process of transitioning.
Schoolboy, 12, turns into a girl
A BOY aged 12 turned up at
school as a GIRL — after
changing sex during summer
This was the Sept 2009 story
How can you prevent
Be prepared - have information about transsexuality
available, including specialist organisations.
Raise awareness - amongst staff and pupils.
Be observant - watch for any signs.
Prevent and protect: ensure that
your anti-bullying policy incorporates all forms of bullying
pupils and staff understand that transphobic bullying is
included in the policy.
Remember you are not alone.
Home Office/Gires – ‘Transphobic Bullying –
Could you deal with it in your school?’ (2008)
Available on www.gires.org.uk
Department for Children, Schools and Families –
‘Guidance for schools on preventing and
responding to sexist, sexual and transphobic
bullying’. (2009) Available from DCSF Publications,
Engendered Penalties. S.Whittle; S.Turner and
M. Al-Alami. Press for Change www.pfc.org.uk
Information and Support
– The main support group for gender variant children and
teenagers, and their families.
BM Mermaids London. 0208 1234819 – Information line Monday to
Saturday 3pm to 7pm only. www.mermaidsuk.org.uk
– Gender Identity, Research and Education Society. Our primary
mission is to improve the circumstances in which trans people live, by
changing the way that society treats them.
01375 801554 www.gires.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Transkids – Primarily for teachers in primary schools, but useful to
secondary schools too.
We are grateful to the following who have kindly allowed us to use their
materials and supported us in this project.
Christine Burns MBE
Equality South West
South West Transgender Equality Network
Press for Change