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  • Writer's pictureEmily Smith

Gender Identity

GENDER IDENTITY RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES Adolescence is marked as a time when children are exploring their identity – who they are and who they desire to become. For parents, this time period can bring on a variety of emotions – excitement, pride, confusion, and even fear. When a child’s identity exploration includes gender and sexuality exploration, parents need resources to help them bridge the gap. A 2019 National School Climate Survey reported that 90% of LGBTQIA+ youth reported having experienced harassment or assault at some point within their youth, due to their gender or sexuality expression[1]. This is one example of the not uncommon trauma that can accompany this period of identity development for youth. Below are beneficial resources for parents and families to stay informed, engage in curiosity, practice attunement, and support their children’s journey.

The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity: A Mindful Approach to Embracing Your Child’s Authentic Self by Darlene Tanado, LCSW

This book offers a relationship-oriented approach to supporting your child on their journey. With topics focused on communication, empowerment, creating an affirming space, how to support your child through societal transitions, and more. According to research conducted by Dr. Caitlin Ryan and the Family Acceptance Project, LGBTQIA+ youth whose families affirm their gender identity and sexual orientation are almost 50% less likely to make a suicide attempt compared to those families who are unsupportive[2]. Tanado’s text offers parents the tools they need to embrace their whole child and grow together to navigate societal barriers that often lead to experiences of trauma, due to systemic issues that continue to make ripples throughout our still gender conforming society.

[1] Kosciw, J. G., Clark, C. M., Truong, N. L., & Zongrone, A. D. (2020). The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN. [1] Family acceptance saves lives. (2017, September 14). Retrieved April 30, 2021, from


Gender Born, Gender Made by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Gender Born, Gender Made aims to do the work of providing parents the skills and resources necessary to navigate practical, daily concerns of working with children who don’t fit the “gender norm.” Ehrensaft’s approach is both informative for families, yet is also nurturing of the themes of grief and loss that often accompany parents on this journey. This book also works to debunk myths and outdated beliefs about gender noncomformity, that can actually contribute to the ongoing systemic trauma that is so regularly experienced by this population. Research conducted in the 2015 Transgender Survey highlights, “it is estimated that nonbinary individuals make up 25-35% of transgender populations, though most research has not included “nonbinary” as a response category when inquiring about gender[1].” This statistic supports the lack of consideration that has been given to gender nonconforming youth, and this book helps parents work to be the advocates driving that change. [1] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., et al. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.



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