Transgender children: Preparing for puberty

The BBC report s that for most parents, their child’s move to secondary school is a big moment which requires planning, even more so for those with transgender children. The Victoria Derbyshire programme has been following two of the UK’s youngest trans children for the last two-and-a-half years.

“I won’t mention it, but if it comes up I will be honest. I’m not going to say, ‘Guess what, I’m trans’, but if someone mentions it I will say I am, because I am,” says Jessica.

The 10-year-old’s friends do not really mention the fact she has transitioned from living as male to female, a fact she prefers. She just wants to be treated “like a normal girl”. We first met “Jessica” and “Lily”, who is now nine, in January 2015. We are not using their real names.

In the last two years, the number of children aged 10 or under who were referred to the NHS because they were unhappy with their biological gender has risen from 87 to 216, including 32 aged five or under over the last year.

They say it is impossible to know for sure why so many more children are being referred, but that it is clear there is much greater awareness and acceptance in society for young people to be able to talk about questioning their gender.

Lily’s mum “Jen” says the search for the right secondary school began two years ago, before her older son started. She asked how it would support trans children, so she knew it could help both of her offspring. At the time, the school had not encountered any other transgender children, but said it was happy to build something into the curriculum to educate the other pupils.

“The research evidence shows that teenagers and young people who are trans who have had that support, had the treatment that they need, have the support from families and schools have got the same or better mental health than normal non-trans young people,” says Jen.

Read more Transgender children: Preparing for puberty

Does your school have transgender pupils? Have changes to facilities been made? How did the school educate other pupils? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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