Dreaming of Dresses: Transgender Books for Children [View all]
from the Huffington Post
Young people are coming out as transgender ever earlier, which often means that they want medical treatment at younger ages. This is a thought that worries and bewilders some adults, in part because they do not believe that children can really know who they are or what they want but also in part because they simply don't have enough information about gender dysphoria.
These days, we see some trans and intersex people in the media, although there is often an emphasis on the problems they face. News reports discuss bullying and suicide. Films such as Boys Don't Cry or XXY depict struggles and pain. Novels often do a bit better in terms of nuance (such as Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex or Annabel by Kathleen Winter), but are not always easily available (one thinks here of Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues). So it's not surprising that adults don't always get accurate information or positive ideas about trans issues.
Then there's the perhaps more pressing problem of where trans or intersex young people themselves can read about other people like them. If someone recognizes at a young age that she or he is trans, that person might immediately want to know that she or he is not alone or "abnormal." The media and, more specifically, literature is usually the first stop.
Right now is a time when many transgender children are taunted or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable at school, when they consider or attempt suicide, or when they see no hope for the future. I believe that featuring trans and intersex characters in literature for young people can help to change this.
Let young people dream of dresses (or trousers, or whatever else they might desire) and what's more, let them have them.