Response to Dr. Jack Drescher and the NY Times About Childhood Transition: Part 4, from the Child and Adolescent Gender Center Clinic

Coy Mathis

GID Reform Advocates respond to the question, “When a child identifies with the other gender, what to do?” Dr. Jack Drescher’s commentary on the Coy Mathis Civil Rights Case in Colorado appeared in the Sunday Dialogues Feature of the June 29, 2013 New York Times. Here is the discussion that the Times did not publish.

A Guest Post from the
Child and Adolescent Gender Center
San Francisco, CA

To the NYT Editors:
June 26, 2013
Dear Editors:

We celebrate the landmark decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Division which allows children to use school facilities in accordance with the gender they know themselves to be. Their decision is consistent with the goals of the affirmative model of gender health–to facilitate a child’s opportunity to live in the gender that feels most real or comfortable to that child and to express that gender with freedom from restriction, aspersion, or rejection. So many of us confuse gender identity–who we are on the spectrum of male to female or another gender entirely–with gender expressions–how we show our gender to the world. There are a small number of children, like Coy Mathis, who let us know at a very early age that they are not the sex that was assigned to them on their birth certificate; that their gender identity is different. Like Coy, these children are persistent, consistent, and insistent about who they are. They are to be distinguished from the children who accept their gender label assigned to them but don’t accept our social rules about boys and girls and how they should act, dress, and play—their gender expressions are unique. Can we tell those two groups of children apart? Not perfectly, but with pretty good accuracy if we spend the time to listen to them and translate what they are saying to us. The Colorado Civil Rights Division did just that in listening to at least one of those children, and in its ruling blazing the trail for children to live authentically in the gender they know themselves to be. When we consider the alternative, that a child sits home because school won’t let them be themselves, how could we do otherwise?

Joel Baum, M.S., Director of Education
Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., Director of Mental Health
Stephen Rosenthal, M.D., Medical Director
Ilana Sherer, M.D., Assistant Medical Director
Child and Adolescent Gender Center
San Francisco, CA

The Child and Adolescent Gender Center (CAGC), a collaboration between UCSF and community organizations, offers comprehensive medical and psychological care, as well as advocacy and legal support, to gender non-conforming/transgender youth and adolescents.

400 Parnassus Ave., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Appointments: (415) 353-7337
Fax: (415) 476-8214 (Attention: Dr. Stephen Rosenthal)

About Kelley
Dr. Kelley Winters is a writer and consultant on issues of gender diversity in medical and public policy. She is the author of Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays from the Struggle for Dignity (2008) and a past member of the International Advisory Panel for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care, the Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE) Expert Working Group, and the Advisory Boards for TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA). She was recognized in the 2013 Trans 100 Inaugural List for work supporting the transgender community in the US. Kelley has presented papers and presentations on gender policy issues at annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association of Women in Psychology. Kelley wanders the highways of America in an old Mazda, ever in search of comfort food.

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