Most people think of LGBT issues as adult issues. But people are increasingly coming out of the closet when they’re young. And children aren’t just discovering their sexuality at a young age, they’re discovering their gender.
Behind most activism are non-profit organizations and grassroots organizers pushing for change. But the fight to recognize the concept of transgender children is a fight led by academics. Two at the forefront are Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen, who wrote an article entitled “Transgender Children: More Than a Theoretical Challenge.” The paper was published in the Graduate Journal of Social Science in December 2010.
Kennedy and Hellen suggest that transgender children develop their identity despite efforts within schools to enforce gender conformity. They argue that if schools introduced the idea of transgender people to children, it would significantly help transgender children as they grow up. The researchers conducted this study by surveying transgender adults about their childhood — they found that past research on transgender children could have been inaccurate because directly observing transgender children ignores the many children who hide their transgender identity through childhood.