Patients and families from Lurie Children’s Gender & Sex Development Program were recently featured in the FRONTLINE documentary, Growing Up Trans. We asked them to write about their experience, and why they chose to share their story on the national stage.
We decided as a family to be a part of the FRONTLINE documentary Growing Up Trans because we wanted to help people understand what it means to be transgender. Until now, our culture has acknowledged only the extreme ends of the gender spectrum, ignoring all of the variations in the middle. Children who did not conform to society’s understanding of gender — either male or female — were not able to live as their true selves. A boy who had the internal sense that he was a girl could not live and dress in a feminine manner. Similarly, a girl who perceived herself as a boy was not allowed to appear masculine.
We believe this is wrong. Everyone should have the right to express who they are as a person and to present themselves to the world exactly as they perceive themselves to be. Everyone should be able to express their gender identity, their sexual orientation, and anything else that defines them as an individual through their clothing, hair style, name, pronouns, and musical tastes.
We hope this documentary will help the world understand that being transgender is natural and that transgender children are just like all other children. They go to school, have friends, play sports, watch TV, listen to music, and fight with their parents. They are sometimes good; and sometimes bad. And, like all children, transgender kids should be judged for their actions, character, and values — not their gender identify or expression.
Your philanthropic support can help advance the work of Lurie Children’s Gender & Sex Development Program. Contact TJ Johnson at ThJohnson@luriechildrens.org or 312.227.7251 to learn more.