AP Gives 'Tips' for Deciding If Your Kid Is Transgender

Wire service promotes transgender summer camp for 4-year-olds

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August 7, 2017

The Associated Press is giving tips for parents on how to decide whether their child is transgender, including allowing little boys and girls to "call the shots in terms of their gender."

The article, "Wondering if your child is transgender? Here are some tips," accompanied another AP story Monday that gave a glowing review of a San Francisco summer camp for transgender four-year-olds.

The AP spoke to "gender experts," who tell parents to allow their sons and daughters to "do a weekend as a different gender."

"How can a parent know if their child is transgender? What separates a young boy who might be transgender from one with a vivid imagination who likes to dress up in his sister's dresses?" the AP asks. "What do you do if your daughter tells you she's a boy?"

The answer, according to the wire service, is "we don't know."

The primary gender expert the AP talked to was Diane Ehrensaft, the author of The Gender Creative Child, a book that "unlocks the door to a gender-expansive world."

Ehrensaft, who is a clinical psychologist who gives "gender assessments and consultations" to children and adults, told parents they should buy dresses for their little boys.

The AP asked Ehrensaft, "My son likes to wear dresses. Is this a phase or something more?"

"My answer is, we don't know," Ehrensaft said. "What we know is, you have a son who likes princess dresses. I would say get him the dresses. Have your child feel free to choose. Maybe they'll stop wearing dresses. Maybe they'll grow up to be gay."

Ehrensaft also serves on the board of Gender Spectrum, which has a guidebook for K-12 schools that argues a child's "age and maturity" should "never be a basis for denying a transgender student an opportunity to transition in a safe and supportive environment."

Ehrensaft encourages children to "socially transition" to the opposite gender as early as the age of 2.

"We expect a two-year-old to know 'I am boy. I am girl.' So why can't that also apply to transgender children?" she asked.

Ehrensaft claims that toddlers might be transgender if they are "pulling barrettes from their hair, grabbing for their sister's dress and dolls, or throwing away their trucks."

The AP also talked to Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, who specializes in providing puberty suppressers and cross-sex hormones to youth.

Olson-Kennedy's advice to parents is to have their children cross-dress for a weekend.

"It can also help for parents to get away somewhere with their child and allow the child to call the shots in terms of their gender, such as letting them use a different pronoun or wear a dress or other clothing of their choice, Olson-Kennedy says," the AP reported.

"Do a weekend as a different gender, and see what you learn," Olson-Kennedy said. "People have said this over and over again: 'Oh, my God. I saw a side of my child I had never seen before.'"

The AP's tips were released with another story about "Rainbow Day Camp" in San Francisco.

"At transgender camp, children as young as 4 find safe space," the AP reported.

At camp, kids dance to Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus songs, read books about "transgender fluid" people, and are asked their preferred pronouns. Children can be seen wearing "Gay Purride" shirts.

"At check-in each day, campers make a nametag with their pronoun of choice," the AP reported. "Some opt for 'she' or 'he.' Or a combination of 'she/he.' Or 'they,' or no pronoun at all."

"Some change their name or pronouns daily, to see what feels right," the AP added.

The AP again quoted Ehrensaft for its video report on the transgender kids camp. She said psychologists like herself are "looking for" transgender kids.

"We are definitely seeing more kids socially transitioning at very young ages," she told the AP. "And the reason we're seeing this more is because we're looking for them, and letting them be found."