Finding practitioners with experience working with gender expansive children or teens can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to find the right fit for your child
Before starting work, you can interview potential providers to find out about their experience in working with gender-expansive or transgender children. Ask if they have any direct experience with gender-expansive youth and get a feeling for whether they will be supportive and a good fit for your child and family. Below are some questions you can ask potential practitioners.
Have you worked with gender-expansive or transgender children or youth before? Are you willing to learn?
Many practitioners will not have experience working with gender-expansive kids before, but if they are genuinely open-minded and willing to learn, that is the important factor. Gender Spectrum can help you connect them to people with experience in their given field.
What do you see as your role in a child’s gender journey?
Be wary if a professional wants to help your child conform to more traditional gender roles or indicates that their treatment can change your child’s gender identity/expression. A practitioner who gives your child negative messages can do more harm than good.
You want to find professionals who recognize that gender diversity as a naturally occurring aspect of humanity that crosses all lines of identity, geography and other forms of difference.
You are looking for a professional whose goals are to support your child on whatever their authentic path is in relation to their gender, as defined by your child.
Do you think children are too young to determine their gender identity?
Seek professionals who understand that children can know their gender identity at a very young age, but won’t put them in any box or force them to stay on any particular path. The idea is to follow the child’s lead, wherever that may go, and to create a safe space for the child to figure out their true path.
Try to find providers who will work with your child based on your child’s experience, not on an external timeline regardless of your child’s particular circumstances.
What if I don’t understand this myself?
Ideally, professionals will meet parents “where they are at” and reflect an understanding that parents have their own process to go through. A skilled professional can help families navigate difficult decisions when adults and kids aren’t on the same page and need help understanding each other.