The Unknowing and Unwilling-Educate and Bridge the Gap
It is a blatant fact that we, the LGBQ community, is not fully educated on the most misunderstood and most overlooked members of society; our transgendered youth. With very few research studies of transgendered youth and even fewer resource documents for the community to educate ourselves, our transgendered youth are feeling trapped in a world of the unknowing and sometimes, the unwilling. These factors play a major role in the harsh realities that transgendered youth are faced with on a daily basis. Yes, the LGBQ community faces many issues, but unlike the T (often left out), the LGBQ is an often researched and spoken about community. An emphases must be placed on the mere fact that the psychosocial difficulties that transgendered youth experience are typically not because of his or her gender identity, which most of us may assume, but because of the social environment that the youth experiences.
Did you know that nearly nine out of 10 transgender students experienced verbal harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and gender expression, more than half experienced physical harassment because of their sexual orientation and gender expression and more than a quarter experienced physical assaults because of their sexual orientation and gender expression? If you answer “no”, you are not alone because many of us do not realize that the levels of victimization are higher for transgendered youth than those youth who classify as lesbian, bisexual, or gay. The time is long overdue for our community to fully understand the meaning of “Knowledge is Power.” We can no longer leave our transgendered youth in a society where they find themselves rejected by family, school, church, peers and other communities of origin. We can no longer allow for violence, rape, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, poor nutrition, poor hygiene, chemical dependency and a host of other health-related issues to remain as common factors amongst our transgendered youth. Starting with educating ourselves on the matter and becoming an outlet and protector for our transgendered youth, will start the evolution of bridging the gap between the LGBQ and T communities. Change will not only start with our youth, but also with removing our LQBQ community from the category of the unknowing, and sometimes the unwilling.
33% have attempted suicide
55% report being physically attacked
74% have been sexually harassed at school
90% do feel unsafe at school
78% have reported being verbally harassed and
48% reported having been victims of assault, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault or rape
Cited from http://www.glsen.com
Social Sevices with Transgendered Youth, Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, Editor, Harrington Park Press, 1999 ( Haworth Press, Inc.)
“Through personal narratives and case studies, Social Services with Transgendered Youth explores the childhood and adolescent experiences of transgendered persons. Addressing the differences between male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) individuals and identifying the specific challenges of transgendered persons from diverse races, cultures, and religious backgrounds, this compelling book offers suggestions that will help social workers and the youths’ families learn more about the reality of transgendered persons’ lives.” http://www.haworthpressinc.com
Our Trans Children, A Publication of the Transgender Network of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Third Edition, 2001. Avialable online at: http://www.transproud.com/pdf/transkids.pdf
Why Don’t You Tell Them I’m a Boy? Raising a Gender- Nonconforming Child, by Florence Dillon. A mother’s experience with raising a transgender (FtM) son. Available online at: http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org/whydontyoutellthem.pdf
Mom I Need To Be a Girl, by Just Evelyn. Copyright 1998
Walter Trook Publishing, 276 Date St. , Imperial Beach, CA 91932.
Out of print but available online at: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Evelyn/Evelyn.html
Resources for the youth: