TALK­ING TRUMP WITH YOUR TRANS­GEN­DER KIDS

De­spite cam­paign prom­ises to fight for LGBTQ in­di­vid­u­als, Pres­i­dent Trump’s ac­tions to­ward trans­gen­ders have been quite the op­po­site.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - NIKKI M. MASCALI @MetroNewYork nikki.mascali@metro.us

De­spite cam­paign trail prom­ises to fight for LGBTQ in­di­vid­u­als, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ac­tions to­ward the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially trans­gen­ders, have been quite the op­po­site.

First, Trump re­moved Obama-era bath­room pro­tec­tions for trans­gen­der stu­dents in Fe­bru­ary. Last week, he an­nounced via Twit­ter he would ban trans­gen­der per­son­nel from serv­ing in the U.S. mil­i­tary.

While the Pen­tagon is await­ing of­fi­cial or­ders on the pro­posed ban, both dec­la­ra­tions have made many Amer­i­cans un­easy — es­pe­cially the youngest mem­bers of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

“It’s send­ing a tremen­dous amount of neg­a­tive imag­ing around trans­gen­der folks that be­ing trans­gen­der, that the iden­tity in and of it­self is a bur­den, that who you are is less than, that you should not have ac­cess to the same re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, rights and op­por­tu­ni­ties that cis­gen­der peo­ple have,” said Dr. Aron Janssen, child psy­chi­a­trist and di­rec­tor of the Gen­der and Sex­u­al­ity Ser­vice at the Child Study Cen­ter at NYU Lan­gone Health.

Since the elec­tion, the Child Study Cen­ter, which launched in 2011 and serves kids from age 2 through young adult­hood, has seen an uptick in dis­cus­sions about Trump.

“I’m hear­ing kids tell me that they’re fear­ful about what this will mean for their fu­ture, what it will mean for their safety, what it will mean when school starts back up in the fall with this a topic of con­ver­sa­tion,” Janssen said.

With the new school year just around the cor­ner — and in­ci­dents around the coun­try in which stu­dents use the pres­i­dent’s own words to ha­rass and bully their class­mates on the rise — par­ents and providers need to have an open dis­cus­sion with their kids, both trans and cis.

“I al­ways sug­gest that par­ents ask a lot of ques­tions. Kids un­der­stand a lot more than adults of­ten give them credit for,” Janssen said. “They have re­ac­tions, thoughts, feel­ings. It’s our job to help elicit those and sup­port them, but not to rush to con­clu­sions.”

But don’t get hung up on how to go about ask­ing ques­tions, Janssen warned.

“There’s never go­ing to be a ‘right’ way of do­ing this. I think just do­ing it at all is enough,” he said. He sug­gests say­ing, “You heard about the trans­gen­der ban. What do you think about that?” or “What kind of dis­cus­sions are you and your friends hav­ing about this?”

Re­spond­ing to bul­ly­ing is not the vic­tim’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, Janssen said.

“It is the sys­tem’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, the adults who are tasked with pro­vid­ing a safe ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ment for chil­dren,” he said. “This is about adults ed­u­cat­ing them­selves and other stu­dents and cre­at­ing a cul­ture where bul­ly­ing is not tol­er­ated, that by­standers to bul­ly­ing are em­pow­ered to speak up when they see it hap­pen­ing and that there are ac­tual con­se­quences in place when bul­ly­ing oc­curs.”

Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Bla­sio vowed to up­hold trans­gen­der pro­tec­tions they put in place re­gard­less of Trump, “but those in the broader com­mu­nity who don’t have those sup­port and ad­vo­cacy ef­forts are much more vul­ner­a­ble,” Janssen said. “The rights that kids had, even just six months ago, are re­ally un­ten­able and on un­steady ground.”

To that end, “par­ents and teach­ers and med­i­cal and men­tal health providers and con­cerned cit­i­zens have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to stand up for these kids and say, ‘We will sup­port you, we will love you, we will al­low you to be who you are,’” Janssen added.

“There’s never go­ing to be a ‘right’ way of do­ing this. I think just do­ing it at all is enough.” Dr. Aron Janssen

GETTY IMAGES

GETTY IMAGES

Teenager with a United States flag and a Pride flag.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.