5-year-old Trans Girl in Chicago Area: needs friends

Hey Everyone! I’m in Chicago right now — just helped out with the fabulous BlogHer 2009 conference — and I met a woman who’s story brought me to tears. Her name’s Jen, she lives in the Chicago area, and she has a transgender daughter who is five years old.

This child, despite being raised as a boy, has insisted since her fourth birthday that she is a girl. It took some time for everyone to catch up, but as of a month ago, this child’s gender is being recognized within her family, and she’s being loved dearly for who she is.

She’s lonely, though. She’s about to start school, and many of her friends have stopped playing with her. She wants to know that she’s not the only one like herself, and her mother is searching for her community.

Jen’s aware of the Gender Spectrum conference coming up in Seattle on September 4th — and they’ll probably go — but it’s neither close enough nor soon enough.

If anyone can help connect this family to the community it needs (meeting another young transgender girl in Chicago would be phenomenal, but I’m sure there are also other friends to be had), please email me (sarah at genderfork dot com) or reach out to Jen directly at ecochicorganizer.com.

Thank you.


Posted by on July 26th, 2009 at 08:57 am

Category: requests 16 comments »

16 Responses to “5-year-old Trans Girl in Chicago Area: needs friends”

  1. another julian

    This is heartbreakingly awesome.

    another julian replied:

    To clarify: heartbreaking because no one should have to go through that bullshit of being isolated by asshole peers; awesome because the parents/family are accepting and allowing the daughter to be herself instead of trying to force her into a male role.

    Getheren replied:

    Another view of this, however, is: who decided that "being herself" meant "being a girl"? Not the kid. Gender roles do NOT crystallize THAT fast. One year from the beginning of her insistence on being a girl to the decision on transition? What adult is rushed through transition like that, given THAT little time for reflection?

    I see this kind of case as containing the same kinds of issues as neonatal sex reassignment of intersex kids, only moved to a somewhat later age bracket: life-changing decisions are being made FOR someone whose personal input is not adequate to the decision-making process.

    What possibilities were laid before this child? I really, really doubt that any sincere consideration was given to an androgynous role, for example, and since the decision to live as a girl was made at five years old, what kind of careful personal consideration of one's own social role could the child have undergone? "We'll let you be yourself" becomes highly coercive when there is an unspoken preconception of what the "letting" authority figures will or will not allow "being yourself" to mean.

    Frankly, with the appearance of ultra-early transition like this, I smell binary enforcement; whether it is consciously intended or not, the effect is to render gender variation invisible and maintain the division into two boxes.

  2. sarahdopp

    Hey everyone, I just deleted a comment here that thoughtfully critiqued this child's transition. While that conversation may be relevant, it's not appropriate here. We're asking for community and support.

    Thank you.

  3. Kim Pearson

    Everyone please be mindful that sharing too many details of this child's situation or location may place them at risk…need to be very careful where younger trans children are involved.

    Kim Pearson
    Executive Director
    TransYouth Family Allies

  4. Tamara Jeanne

    I'm glad to see that Kim Pearson has gotten involved with this, if any one can help with this she is it. She and Trans Youth Family Allies ( the organization she founded) are a great resource for trans-youth and their families.

  5. Kim Pearson

    Thanks Tamara, we are involved and unfortunately what the family is looking for is not easy to find, but we will keep looking.

  6. LostTristian

    After sharing this with Nancy Jo (http://www.myspace.com/nancyjosephine1), she sent me this.

    Hey Trisket,

    I have contacted Activists and Advocacy groups in Chicago; and have made sure that the following info has been passed along to Sarah – and hopefully by now, to Jen:

    TransYouth Family Allies

    Website: http://www.imatyfa.org

    Phone: 1-888-462-8932

    TYFA is the group which assisted the family of that 8 year old Trans-girl student in the suburban Denver Metro Area, a little over a year ago.

    They saw to it that she was treated properly in the school, educated all the affected teachers and staff on Trans issues; and made sure the little girl had some sort of direct support where she lived.

    I now await the follow-up to what has just been done.

    Thank you once again!

    I was looking for this posting either two days or ago, or yesterday morning, but I tweeted about it. So sorry for the delay.

  7. another julian

    I am curious about the different ways kids gender issues are handled based on their assigned-at-birth sex…

    I have never heard of a trans boy kid. That doesn't mean they don't exist, so feel free to shoot me down as just ill-informed. I have heard of several young trans girls.

    Why is it that MAAB who wear dresses are trans and FAAB who "act like boys" are just tomboys and "will grow out of it"?

    I mean, I know the answer to this, and it's "patriarchy." It's "normal" for a girl to want to be a boy (or show any signs of masculinity) (men run shit, after all!), but pathologized for a MAAB to feel female or even feminine.

    It is stupid and I hate it.

  8. Kim Pearson

    The youngest natal female we have facilitated transition for was 5. About 50% of the families we work with have natal females who identify as transgender. Most of them are under the age of 16.

    Kim Pearson
    Executive Director
    TransYouth Family Allies

    Sheik replied:

    Thank you for being rad and existing.

    Kim Pearson replied:

    It is my honor and privilege to serve these children and their families.


    another julian replied:

    Thanks for the info, Kim. The lack of "coverage" of trans boys vs. trans girls is probably due to the same cultural crap that all but ignores trans men while fetishizing trans women.

    Kim Pearson replied:

    There is a total double standard and all everyone ever talks about seems to be the girls. Our male centric society….sigh.

  9. Polly

    Thanks, Sarah, for tapping your community here for support. I felt really honored to be a part of the conversation regarding Jen's family, and also the other parent there.

    Quiet, after-the-actual-panel connections like those pretty much make a whole several-day, multi-hundred dollar-commitment conference totally worthwhile.

  10. Sarah Dopp

    Hey Guys,

    Just an FYI: i’m closing this comment thread.

    I just deleted another comment here that critiqued this child’s transition. While that conversation may be relevant, it’s not appropriate here. This thread was asking for community and support, and it has served that purpose.

    Please visit http://www.genderspectrum.org for further resources on this topic.

    Thank you.

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