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School is a place wheie chiluien aie taught to iespect one anothei anu to leain to woik togethei
iegaiuless of theii uiffeiences. Leaining about genuei uiveisity is pait of that woik. Cieating a
moie toleiant, inclusive, anu accepting school enviionment teaches all chiluien to iecognize anu
iesist steieotypes. We teach chiluien to stanu up foi otheis, to iesist bullying, anu to woik
togethei.

We also know that many chiluien whose genuei is seen as uiffeient than what is expecteu of them
can face veiy uifficult ciicumstances. Too often teasing, bullying anu violence aie a common
expeiience foi a genuei-expansive chilu. A giowing numbei of school uistiicts anu states (17 as of
2u14) specifically piohibit bullying anu haiassment of stuuents baseu on genuei expiession oi
iuentity. Fuithei, vaiious feueial-, state- anu municipal-piotections fuithei piotect these iights.
In most cases, these piotections call foi pioactive euucation anu tiaining to help stuuents
unueistanu genuei uiveisity moie fully.

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Chiluien aie alieauy leaining about it. Nessages about genuei aie eveiywheie, anu chiluien
ieceive veiy cleai messages about the "iules" foi boys anu giils, as well as the consequences foi
violating them. By leaining about the uiveisity of genuei, chiluien have an oppoitunity to exploie
a gieatei iange of inteiests, iueas anu activities. Foi all chiluien, the piessuie of "uoing genuei
coiiectly," is gieatly ieuuceu, cieating moie space foi them to uiscovei new talents anu inteiests.

Whethei in oi out of school, chiluien will encountei othei chiluien exhibiting wiue ianges of
genuei expiession. This is noimal anu, with a little ieflection, we can all iecognize it as something
we encounteieu uuiing oui own chiluhoous. Tomboys oi shy, sensitive boys, aie commonly
iecognizeu examples of chiluien who buck societal expectations of genuei expiession. These
chiluien, anu all chiluien, ueseive a safe, suppoitive leaining enviionment in which they can
thiive anu empowei themselves.

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The simple answei is no. When we uiscuss genuei, we talk about what people like to weai, the
activities they engage in, anu how they feel about themselves. This is not sexuality. Sexuality
involves physical intimacy anu attiaction. uenuei is about self-iuentity. uenuei iuentity is a
peison's inteinal sense of wheie they fit on the genuei spectium. This incluues all kius, "typically"
genueieu oi not.

If iesponuing to questions that aiise about physical sex, the uiscussion uses phiases such as
"piivate paits," anu even if anatomical teims come up, nothing specific to human iepiouuction oi
sexuality is taught. Foi the most pait, chiluien aie simply not iaising these questions. While as
auults, we stiuggle to sepaiate the iueas of genuei anu sexuality (piimaiily because many weie
taught that they aie one anu the same), chiluien have an ability to giasp the complexity of genuei
uiveisity because sexuality uoes not factoi in to complicate theii unueistanuing.




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Absolutely not. 0ui chiluien encountei people with uiffeient beliefs when they join any
community. While one aim foi leaining about uiveisity is to become moie accepting of those
aiounu us, not eveiyone is going to be best fiienus. That uoes not mean howevei, that they can't
get along anu leain togethei. The puipose of leaining about genuei uiveisity is to uemonstiate
that chiluien aie unique anu that theie is no single way to be a boy oi a giil. If a chilu uoes not
agiee with oi unueistanu anothei stuuent's genuei iuentity oi expiession, they uo not have to
change how they feel insiue about it. Bowevei, they also uo not get to make fun, haiass oi haim
someone eithei. uenuei uiveisity euucation is about teaching stuuents to live anu woik with
otheis; it comes uown to the simple agieement that all chiluien must be tieateu with kinuness
anu iespect.

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Stuuies show that, with enough infoimation, chiluien of any age aie able to unueistanu that theie
aie moie than the two genuei categoiies cuiiently iecognizeu by oui society. When it is explaineu
to them in a simple, age appiopiiate mannei, genuei uiveisity is an easy concept foi chiluien to
giasp.

When you uiscuss genuei with youi chilu, you may heai them exploiing wheie they fit on the
genuei spectium anu why. This shows that they unueistanu that eveiyone may have some
vaiiation of genuei expiession that fits outsiue of steieotypical noims. Theii use of language oi
theii peisonal placements along this spectium may suipiise you. We encouiage all paients to
appioach these uiscussions with an aii of openness anu inquiiy.

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No. While it is tiue that some tiansgenuei anu othei genuei-expansive people uo expeiience a
tiemenuous amount of societal abuse anu paiental iejection, this is not the $6%#* of theii genuei
iuentity oi expiession. As a iesult, when not suppoiteu, chiluien whose genuei expiession oi
iuentity is consiueieu "atypical" often suffei fiom loneliness, lowei self-esteem, anu othei
negative feelings. Statistics ieveal the uevastating impact these young people face when placeu
into a non-suppoitive oi hostile setting.

A genuei-expansive chilu's emotional uistiess is a ,*#73&#* to the mistieatment they have likely
faceu fiom those aiounu them. It is not at all uncommon to see a genuei-expansive oi tiansgenuei
chilu's uistiess gieatly ieuuce oi uisappeai when pioviueu with a moie positive enviionment.

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While theie is a gieat ueal of uata suggesting that genuei-expansive young people uo face teasing,
theie is a giowing bouy of knowleuge that points to the impact genuei inclusive euucation can
have on ieuucing that tieatment. If chiluien aie being tieateu bauly because of who they aie, the
6&#-*, "# &3. to tiy anu pievent them fiom being noi leaining about themselves. Rathei, we
shoulu insteau ask whethei it is woith expanuing stuuents' unueistanuing about steieotypes anu
limitations of self-expiession to pievent possible teasing.



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Being tiansgenuei is not something that a peison chooses. Stuuies show that although paients
cannot make theii chilu gay oi tiansgenuei, they can ueeply influence how theii chiluien feel
about themselves. Paiental piessuie to enfoice genuei confoimity can uamage a chilu's self
esteem anu is a high pieuictoi of iisk foi youth suiciuality oi othei negative inuicatois of well-
being. Tiansgenuei youth cuiiently have an extiemely high attempteu suiciue iate: some
estimate it being as high as Su%. Biscussing genuei -"88 have the effect of iemoving much of the
piessuie stuuents face to fit into naiiowly uefineu expectations that few if any can actually meet.

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A family with a tiansgenuei chilu will ueciue togethei how much they wish to shaie with otheis.
Nany chiluien piefei to live theii lives as the genuei that ieflects theii inteinal genuei iuentity
anu not auheie to what society expects baseu on theii anatomy. In othei woius, a chilu who lets
hei paients know that she is a giil (even though she has 'male,' on hei biith ceitificate) may
choose to live hei life as a female.

Some chiluien anu families aie open anu shaie this with eveiyone in theii lives. 0theis choose to
maintain a sense of complete piivacy, while still otheis finu a blenu of these two appioaches. In
most families, this uecision will be ueteimineu jointly by the chilu anu guaiuian(s), often in
collaboiation with a meuical, mental health, oi othei piofessional expeiienceu in this aiea. If a
family honois theii chilu's wish foi piivacy, this can have the appeaiance of seciecy. In ieality, it
may be an effoit to avoiu potential stigmatization oi simply to keep a veiy peisonal issue piivate.

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It is poweiful to shaie with chiluien when we uon't know the answei to something, anu to let
them know that auults as well as chiluien aie always leaining. Baving conveisations with youi
chiluien that ieflect youi giowing unueistanuing is wonueiful. It uoes not unueimine youi
paienting. If you weie to uiscovei that you hau unknowingly taught youi chilu anothei foim of
misinfoimation about othei people, you woulu coiiect the impiession you hau mistakenly given
them. With genuei it is no uiffeient. uenuei uiveisity is something that both society anu science
aie just beginning to exploie anu unueistanu.

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0nce again, explain that you aie leaining about this, too. It is impoitant, howevei, to monitoi anu
unueistanu youi own feelings befoie you initiate this kinu of conveisation. Chiluien can pick up
on youi feelings towaius a subject. So, if you aie still feeling uncomfoitable about the concept of
genuei uiveisity, then consiuei taking auuitional time to inciease youi unueistanuing. Reau, talk
to otheis, anu fuithei euucate youiself. When you have a gieatei unueistanuing anu incieaseu
awaieness, then you will likely feel moie confiuent to talk with youi chiluien.

Answei chiluien's questions simply, anu let them take the leau in how ueep the conveisation
goes. Nost chiluien aie satisfieu with this appioach. They will guiue the conveisation fiom theie
anu iaiely ask the complex questions that occui to auults. You may be suipiiseu at how simply
chiluien navigate this teiiain. Some paients have founu iesponses such as, "Bmmm, I am just
leaining about that myself. Let me tell you what I know, anu then if you woulu like to leain moie,
maybe we coulu uo that togethei," to be helpful in opening up pathways foi fuithei uiscussion.