Planned Parenthood has published parental guidance on gender identity that encourages asking toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 how they identify.
The guidance titled "4 Facts You Need to Know About Your Kids, Gender Identity and Being Trans," which is listed on Planned Parenthood's website under "gender identity," states as a "fact" that “gender identity, for everyone, is formed in the toddler years.”
Planned Parenthood tells parents that in order to create a "safer space" for their toddler they should ask their child point blank if they identify as a "boy or a girl." Whatever answer the toddler gives, parents should accept it and treat them as such.
"As soon as your kid is able to understand the concept of gender, they will tell you their gender. To create a safer space, you might consider asking directly: ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ — and being open to whatever answer they give you. Note: If you tell them they’re wrong, it will NOT change their gender identity (see fact below), but it could make them worry they’re not lovable the way they are," the guidance states.
Furthermore, the fact sheet informs parents that the risk of suicide among transgender youth declines when they have a supporting adult in their lives. It also states that youth-aged children who identify as transgender are "coming out" in historic numbers.
The guidance then directs parents to a link that gives them tips on how to talk to their children about gender identity from the ages of preschool to high school.
Planned Parenthood's preschool guidance states that "Most kids begin to identify strongly with a gender around age 3. That includes transgender and gender nonconforming people, who also have a sense of their gender identity at this stage."
The guidance encourages parents to refrain from "putting daughters in pink princess rooms and boys in blue sports rooms before they’re old enough to choose for themselves" claiming that doing such could "send the message that they have to like certain things because of their gender."
Parents are then told not to discuss heterosexual relationships with their kids between the ages of 4 and 5 as it could lead to "mental health" issues since they might not "know their sexual orientation yet."
"Be mindful of how you talk around your kid, too. Talking to (or in front of) your daughter about growing up and having boyfriends or marrying a man (and vice versa) sends the message that girls are supposed to like boys, and boys are supposed to like girls, and that anything else is wrong or not normal," the guidance states.
"While kids this young don’t know their sexual orientation yet, assuming they’re straight could make them scared to come to you or feel bad about themselves later. This can lead to mental health issues, unhealthy relationships, and taking more health risks when they reach their teenage years," it adds.
Additionally, the guidance encourages parents to ask their preschooler their gender identity, and if they claim to be different from their birth sex, then they should begin the gender transitioning process.
"Ask them if they’re a boy or a girl, and how they know that to be true. If they are transgender, giving them the power to wear what they want, have the haircut they want, and even use a name that reflects their gender are all going to be really important for them to feel safe, especially once they start going to school," the guidance states.
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