By Rafael Pineda and Maria José Muñoz
Posted: 12/17/2009 01:16:48 PM PST Updated: 12/17/2009 01:16:48 PM PST We second Kerry Cook's gratitude to the Alameda Unified School District for creating the Community Advisory Committee, albeit for entirely different reasons. We are thankful that the district is working to create a more inclusive and tolerant environment in our schools. She says, "Our hearts are broken for all the elementary school children who are being taught that a mental illness called Gender Identity Disorder ... is a normal behavior called transgender." As parents of a beautiful, happy and healthy transgender child attending school in Alameda, our hearts are broken by the thousands of gender-nonconforming children who face violence, verbal and sexual harassment, increased dropout rates and institutional bias — and who take their own lives at three times the rate of their peers — largely because they have been diagnosed as mentally ill and treated accordingly. We can assure Kerry Cook that our child and many more transgender children and adults we know are far from being mentally ill. Transgender and gender-nonconforming kids and adults live in a gendered culture into which they often do not easily fit. If they face psychological problems, it's because they experience an inner sense of not belonging along with external discrimination and denial of basic human rights. A debate is raging in the psychiatric community about the appropriateness of Gender Identity Disorder as a designated llness. According to the American Psychological Association's 2009 Task Force Report on Gender Identity and Gender Variance, "there is a great deal of disagreement about the GID diagnosis and whether it is helpful or harmful." Our agenda as parents is to ensure our child's safety and happiness at home and at school, especially when we are talking about a child who is at high risk of being bullied and marginalized. The fact that we have to qualify our child's safety and happiness in terms that read "regardless of race, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation or gender " (or, in our case, "gender identity") says a lot about our society that is not complimentary. We are both from conservative backgrounds, which did not entirely prepare us for the parenting challenges that come with raising a transgender child. Nevertheless we have been blessed with a supportive and accepting school environment that has been properly educated about this issue. The key to the happiness and mental health of our child has been the safe, loving and accepting environment we provide at home coupled with the support of our families, friends, neighbors and our amazing school community. We thank them all. Maria José Muñoz and Rafael Pineda live in Alameda.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The following article is applicable to all Transgender people, but Transgender children are far more vulnerable to the ignorance society places on the Transgender population.
Our true love and appreciation goes out to parents of Transgender children like Rafael Pineda and Maria José Muñoz.
Posted by De Sube at 12/17/2009 04:42:00 PM