How transgender relates to sexuality

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How transgender relates to sexuality

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If you're a parent and you see your child wanting to dress up in the clothes of the opposite gender, you may go right to the question, "Is my child gay?" And my answer to that, as a professional is, “Maybe. We don't know yet.” Someday we'll find out, and that indeed many children who grow up to be gay spent time in their childhood cross-dressing or playing with toys that were "opposite gender toys" on their way to becoming gay. But many children who cross-dress and are interested in activities of the opposite gender when they're little, don't grow up to be gay. Some of them may grow up to be transgender and that's very different than being gay, straight, bisexual or whatever your sexual orientation is. So if we break it apart your sexual orientation has to do with who you want to walk down the isle with and your gender has to do more with who you want to walk down the isle as. And they are two very separate things. And we often make the mistake to think that gender non-conforming children are gay and they may be, they may not be, we don't know, but it's a completely separate track. They're expressing something about their gender – that's what we know when they're kids.

Watch Video: How transgender relates to sexuality by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, ...

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Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD is a developmental and clinical psychologist in Oakland, California. She is a parenting expert and also specializes in gender studies and psychotherapy and consultation with gender nonconforming children and their families. She is the author of Gender Born, Gender Made:  Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children; Mommies Daddies, Donors, Surrogates, Building a Home Within (co-edited with Toni Heineman), Spoiling Childhood, and Parenting Together. Dr. Ehrensaft has made many media appearances, most recently the Anderson Cooper Day show, and has presented and published both nationally and internationally on the subjects of parenting, child development, assisted reproductive technology, and children’s gender development and gender nonconformity.

Dr. Ehrensaft is the Director of Mental Health of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a University of California San Francisco-community partnership offering interdisciplinary services to gender conforming children and youth and their families, as well as the psychologist at the UCSF Gender Clinic.

She serves on the faculty of The University of California and is a founding member of A Home Within, a national non-profit organization serving the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care.

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