When it comes to gender identity in today’s world, people now around the world have the right to choose what gender they want to identify as and choose how they want to appear either physically or mentally. Some people do not consider this a one-time chance, as they have chosen to change their gender identity throughout the years. Gender identity can be described as modern freedom, as it has not been long ago since society has accepted anyone who would be more comfortable identifying as something other than male or female.
This does not mean that it is something new that has just been happening now. Some the people in the past had been afraid to speak about not feeling like the gender they are known as, which still happens today. However, people in the past just had to live with it or hide it, compared to today’s world where this freedom exists for everyone to feel comfortable in choosing which gender best suits them if any.
This paper will mostly focus on the children going through gender identity confusion in childhood. This paper will also discuss how those children feel, especially being in school. Schools are not the most friendly when it comes to gender, as kids have always been known to say what is on their minds. These could be hurtful statements that could affect the well-being of a child and their gender identity.
This paper will also analyze the psychological problems that children deal with when going through changes in their gender identity. Another important factor that will be discussed is the relationship between a child with gender identity problemsople for who they are, giving them the freedom of gender identity, more and more scholars begin to research the topic. This research helps raise awareness and informs people of the problems that certain individuals deal with when having differences in their gender identity. A study by David Perry, Rachel Pauletti, and Patrick Cooper (2019) discusses children in school who are uncomfortable with their gender identity, and the stress and pressure they feel when dealing with a situation that is completely new to them. According to Perry et al. (2019), children realize their gender and the term used for it by the age of 3. However, after going through physical changes, starting to wear different clothes, and so on, children begin to realize that their gender does not describe who they are, and start to feel limited (Perry et al., 2019). By the age of 6, children begin to realize what their gender is, which is when a real change usually happens.
A study by Kenneth Zucker and Susan Bradley (1995) reveals that children are passionate about their gender, as they are serious about the topic. Looking further into it, an observation made from observing preschoolers revealed that some preschoolers believed the question was “hilarious” when they were asked about having their gender reversed/opposite, while other preschoolers took it offensively and were annoyed at the question they were asked (Slaby & Frey, 1975, as cited in Zucker & Bradley, 1995). This shows how children take gender identity quite seriously. According to Zuck, and don’t identify as homosexual as they do not consider themselves one (Zucker & Bradley, 1995).
As the number of young children transitioning from one gender to another is greatly increasing in recent years, there have been schools around the world that have been supporting those children in their tough times, to make them feel more comfortable with their decision. According to the Sunday Times (2017), Highgate School located in North London is one of the biggest schools and most well-known schools in the region has planned to support the young children with gender identity confusion, or transformation. Highgate School has had an increasing number of students who were not sure and not comfortable with their gender identity. The Highgate School decided to add a “gender-neutral” outfit matching the school uniform to make those young children feel welcome (Sunday Times, 2017). The school added uniforms for both: boys and girls, to support them during their transformation or their questioning stage. This is a big step to providing those children with the help they need to support them instead of damaging them psychologically, especially at a very young age.
The podcast named: From He To She In First Grade by Jennifer Beals is very interesting and informative, especially for someone like myself who did not know this topic before listening to the podcast. This podcast mentions that the young boy was getting ready to start the first grade school year, but after getting used to wearing a skirt. The mother dealt with the situation in a very wise and patient way. It was interesting to see that despite being in denial, the mother still wanted to make the child feel her support. “Do we love our children best by protecting them at all costs? Or by supporting them unconditionally?”, a question the mother was asking herself. This was a very good question, as not only the child goes through a hard time, but the parents as well. The mother mentions that the child was in tears while going to sleep, which shows how this can mentally damage children, as they get bullied in school.
Parents are put in a situation where they need to choose to protect the child or support them to make them feel protected. The How to be a girl podcast in a way relates to the study by Zucker and Bradley (1995), as it proves how serious children are with their gender. The young boy tells his mother that he is a “girl trapped in a boy’s body”. The young child’s parents did not seem too excited but chose to support their child either way. The child became a girl, even though she knew about the difference in body parts. The young girl described herself as a “girl with a penis” while others were girls without one. This also supports the study done by Zucker and Bradley (1995), which explains how children are passionate about their gender even at a young age.