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HRC Releases Ultimate Guide to Raising Trans Children

by Christiana Lilly
Saturday Dec 17, 2016

The Human Rights Campaign teamed up with two national pediatrics groups to produce a comprehensive guide on transgender children to help family, friends, and physicians.

The 24-page guide, "Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children," was produced with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP). It goes over basic definitions of gender, the benefits of affirming a child's gender identity, debunks myths, and provides support and tips for those who care for transgender children.

"As we've made more and more progress with transgender rights and our society is getting a deeper understanding of what it means to be transgender, more and more people are comfortable in coming out at younger ages," said Sarah McBride, the national press secretary at HRC.

Youngsters like Jazz Jennings, who just celebrated her 16th birthday, have served as trailblazers in the advocacy world by sharing their stories with the world. In TLC's "I Am Jazz," the Jennings family shows how raising a transgender teenager includes run of the mill problems, as well as unique issues that arise.

McBride said that Jazz has helped propel the dialogue in communities about transgender people, especially children. With the guide, she hopes that grandparents, parents, doctors, teachers, and mentors will be able "support, affirm, and care for that child as they would want to do for anyone that they love."

In fact, it was those very people who made the guide come to fruition, McBride said. Families and friends of transgender people approached the HRC with questions, so the agency reached out to experts in the field to put together the guide. Plus, with two pediatric groups on board, it shows that the wellbeing of transgender children is not just important for an advocacy group or in politics, but because it's the right thing to do.

"It's a testament to the fact that this is not a political issue. This is about science, this is about medicine, and this is about who transgender people say they are and what transgender people say they need," McBride said.

Over time, the groups hope that the guide will expand as more information is garnered and more people participate.

A transgender woman herself, McBride said she didn't come out until she was 21 - seeing the guide come together shows progress for the transgender community.

"It's empowering and inspiring and heartening to see more and more people coming out early. It's a testament to some of the progress that we're making. Until we live in a world where every person feels comfortable coming out and living their truth and where everyone who does that is met with support and affirmation, we have a lot of work to do," she said.

"It's about kindness, it's about respect, and it's about allowing every person, including young people, to live their full selves and to spend every day living their life to the fullest."

The full guide can be accessed here.

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