All Kinds of News for March 08, 2017
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, promotes the acceptance and awareness of individuals identifying as transgender or gender-nonconforming. Leigh Uhlenkott, MS, LCPS, NCC, LMHC and Ashley Brown, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, Primary Therapists at Trails Carolina, discuss the importance of affirming the identity of transgender youth.
“Over the years, I have worked with several transgender teens who struggled with bullying and discrimination,” says Brown. “This bullying was mostly coming from the adults in their lives. The older generation is having trouble understanding and accepting the transgender population of teens. By educating the adult population about gender identity issues, we can help get everyone on board with what these kids are going through.”
Leigh Uhlenkott has also worked with several transgender teens.
“For parents who have children coming out as transgender or gender nonconforming, it can be a very confusing time,” comments Uhlenkott. “However, the best thing you can do for your child is to give them the openness and support they need. Many parents worry that their child’s body dysmorphia or transgender identity is just a phase. I tell parents to let their child try out their identity for a trial period in order to see if your child is happier in that new identity.”
Several recent studies have shown that parents who affirm the gender identity of their child can significantly reduce depression, anxiety and suicide rates amongst transgender youth. Without affirmation, these rates are much higher for transgender teens than the rest of the population.
“If your child is persistent, consistent and insistent that they are the opposite gender, that is when you should start considering the options for guiding them through a transition process,” says Uhlenkott. “Every parent wants to see their child happy and healthy. Not affirming the identity of these youth or by ignoring and denying it will only cause more harm. If this is what is going to make your child happy, why wouldn’t you do it? It’s important to listen to what your child has to say about their identity and go from there.”
Trails Carolina is a proud sponsor of GEMS (Gender Education DeMystification Symposium) taking place between March 30 and April 1, 2017. Learn more about GEMS here.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.