I just need some general information and advice for myself and/or my child on puberty, sex and sexuality Go straight to the Books and Websites sections below.
Finding gender identity confusing?There are many ways young people might express their gender. Some children who were born genetically a ‘male’ or ‘female', may not feel like a boy or girl when they are older. They may prefer to dress in clothes or play with toys traditionally considered more typical of the opposite gender, or feel like they are the opposite gender. Other children feel that neither being called a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ fits for them or that they feel comfortable with both. This can be a very normal phase of a childs' development and of exploring their identity. This is especially common for young people with autistic spectrum disorders .It may also be a way of rejecting traditional gender stereotypes which can feel too restrictive. Some children can feel quite sure they feel they are of the opposite gender from as young as 8-9 years but for many children such feelings become more apparent in their early teens.
Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, but the experience can be very tough for some young people and their families. Some may experience high levels of anxiety, depression and thoughts of self-harm. Some may feel quite unsure about their gender and need time and acceptance while they figure it out. Fortunately, there is now a lot of really helpful advice and support for families and young people and there are helplines or online chat options if you or your child just need someone to talk to (see below). The debate around gender can be quite polarised, especially in social media, so be aware that some agencies or individuals may have strong opinions e.g about early access to hormone treatments, in both directions. Around puberty, young people may also start to question their sexuality- for more advice and resources have a look at the secondary pages here
Bristol Mind run MindLine Transoffering support to anyone with gender issues as well as family or friends which is completely confidential and open to callers nationwide. Open Mondays and Fridays only between 8pm to midnight
Gender identity development serviceThis is the national NHS specialised service for children and young people, and their families, who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity. The service works with young people and families with the aim of understanding the obstacles, and to cope with and reduce any distress related to this. Their website has useful information for young people, parents and professionals and also has a helpline. For more information see also the secondary school page.
Gendered IntelligenceA charity specialising in supporting age 8-25 years, including support for parents/carers and professionals. They have a guide for parents and family members of trans people in the UK.
Georgeby Alex Gino: a book about a boy who wants to be girl, suitable from about 9-10 years . Has won multiple awards.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan. Perfect for 10+ years.In the second book of this adventure series readers meet Alex, one of the best depictions of a trans, 'genderfluid teenager in the genre. Alex’s gender identity is crucial to the plot.
Being a Boyby Juno Dawson A fantastic book about puberty, gender, and sexuality for 11+ . Some sections are fairly explicit so as a parent,you may want to read them first but by age 13 yrs there won't be much here that they haven't already heard at school and it is great for dispelling some of those playground myths. Funny, sensible and full of illustrations, highly rated by parents.
Being a Girl by Hayley Long. Another good book, less explicit and therefore suitable for younger teens as well. Described as "friendy, funny ,warm and engaging" by one reviewer.
Kids on the EdgeA ground-breaking Channel 4 documentary exploring the complex issues for children and young people. Episode 1 is about the Gender Clinic.