All Kinds of News for April 09, 2019
As part of OPI’s continued commitment to education and training around LGBTQ+ specific treatment modalities, OPI Therapist Azra Mowlana attended the 2019 Gender Education and DeMystification Seminar (GEMS); when asked about key takeaways, Azra remarked on the importance of education around dysphoria, and the internal process of a person coming to terms with their own transgender identity. Azra shared the following research and resources for parents, caregivers, and clinicians:
Gender Identity and Development
Research presented at GEMS by the Olson-Kennedys (Los Angeles based clinicians and gender experts) indicates that by 2 years old, a child knows about differences between genders, at 3 years old they can label themselves, and by 4 years old they have a stable sense of their own gender identity.
The role of peers in gender development (acceptance or criticism) is crucial in whether a child will continue to perform an activity, such as playing with a toy that is socially considered “not for their gender.” Parents and caregivers can help by being aware of and supporting the child’s inclinations and interests, and not gendering them.
Dysphoria is pervasive and long-term. Certain actions can help reduce dysphoria (for instance changing ones’ name, hormone treatment). Research indicates that if a young adult begins cross-hormone replacement therapy before puberty starts, they could experience more benefits than from medication, and will likely have lower potential of suicidality across the lifespan.
“Coming In” and “Coming Out”
Beck Gee-Cohen, another Los Angeles-based GEMS presenter, introduced the concept of “coming in” as contextually linked to the more colloquial “coming out.” During the process of “coming in”, a child will do independent research which can actually increase gender dysphoria. This process also grants the child the opportunity to connect to community (typically through social media). By the time the child “comes out” to family or friends, they have likely already gone through an extensive process of “coming in.” Often, they are then met with hesitation and resistance from parents and community members, as well as medical practitioners, advising they wait to pursue treatment options.
The break that occurs in communication lies in this very critical gap – the parents, caregivers, and practitioners are failing to realize that the child has already been waiting, The child has already been struggling prior to being verbal about their authentic identity.
Transgender Presence in Media
Looking for some media resources to continue your own education?
“Gender Revolution” is available on Netflix and features Katie Couric exploring our evolving understanding of gender, taking into account the experiences and expertise of transgender and intersex individuals.
Amazon Prime membership gives you access to “Brothers,” a fictional series about the experiences of four trans masculine friends in New York City.
Netflix is leading the pack right now in its representation of transgender themes and/or inclusion of trans actors. Sense8, The OA, and SuperGirl are great examples of shows which, while not exclusively focused on a transgender experience, normalize queer identity and include actors who are part of the community.
About Optimum Performance Institute
Optimum Performance Institute (OPI) was founded in 2003 and is Joint Commission (JCAHO) accredited and located in the San Fernando Valley. OPI offers treatment focused on complex mental health diagnosis and challenges for young adults ages 17-28. Participants engage in real life experiences in an urban setting and work with a multidisciplinary team to forge the path to lasting independence.