Where gender non-conformity comes from

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Where gender non-conformity comes from

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A lot of parents, a lot of professionals, a lot of journalists are asking the question, "Where does Gender Non-Conformity come from?" and "What's the parents' role in Gender Non-Conformity?" The vast majority of cases, the parents will tell you is, "My child just came to me. I didn't make this happen. My child just came to me." "I have four other children, and they are all gender conforming and now I have one gender non-conforming child. I'm puzzled." The answer is that Gender Non-Conformity comes from within the child, often before birth. For a small number of children, they are not just Gender Non-Conforming, but that the gender they are is not the one on the birth certificate. The gender messages come from our brains, not from between our legs. We have to listen to what the children's brains tell us. In terms of the parents, it will be, hopefully, relieving to know that you can just sit back. Parents have no control over their children's gender identity, but they have tremendous influence. Now you can step forward, parents, over their children's gender health. This is what we want parents to do, is to support children their gender health and accept their gender identity, whatever it might be.

See Diane Ehrensaft, PhD's video on Where gender non-conformity comes from...

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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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