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Gender In Children Essay

1454 words - 6 pages

Erin Faith PageErin Faith Page09/28/14Human Growth & DevelopmentProfessor PopoloskiAssignment 3Gender Development: Trans* and Gender Non-conforming YouthOur society is full of gender expression norms, also known as masculinity and femininity. These norms saturate American culture on TV, in ads, at sporting events, and in school hallways nationwide. Our children hear words like "sissy", "faggot", or "tomboy" and expressions like "you throw like a girl" from their first days on the playground. Name calling and bullying based on gender expression are among the first forms of harassment that young people learn and experience. When Trans* and gender non-conforming youth enter middle and high school they can face far worse than name calling. Hostile school climates are among the most common experiences for these children, as they often report experiencing harassment, discrimination, and other negative experiences in school. LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and Trans*) youth, regardless of their gender identity, often face victimization and stigmatization based on both sexual orientation and gender expression.In recent news we have seen various examples of the peer and social backlash towards those who do not conform to the cis-gendered expectations our culture has set. Two of these examples include a case in Oxnard, CA where a 14-year-old boy named Lawrence King who wore mascara, lipstick, jewelry, and high heeled boots was murdered in a computer lab by a fellow 14 year old student. Araujo, a 17 year old MTF (Male to Female), was kicked, beaten in the head with a shovel and strangled by a rope, her body was found in a shallow grave in the Sierra foothills. According to the 2010 Report on Hate Violence released by the National Coalition of Anti Violence Programs, Transwomen are disproportionately impacted by murder, accounting for 44% of gay and Trans* murder victims in 2009.The following is a short overview of some of the various terms that will be used and some of the theory behind gender variance in children. Gender Identity is defined as "the inner sense of maleness or femaleness" (Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 2009). A Trans* person may want to change from an assigned gender to the other gender (ex: male to female= MTF, or female to male= FTM). They may express gender in a way that encompasses aspects of both masculinity and femininity (ex: genderqueer), or may retain the assigned birth gender but have non-conforming characteristics. Some Trans* people will take medical steps towards sex reassignment including the use of hormones and surgeries, and others will not. How does this happen? It is hard for anyone who does not identify as Trans* to comprehend what it must feel like to believe you were born in the wrong body. We still do not know exactly what causes this, but in one of my articles called "When boys would rather not be boys" Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, who is considered one of the world's foremost experts on Trans* teens and is also a professor...

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