Transgender Psychologist: Parents Should Be Informed About Child’s ‘Transitioning’

A girl holds the Transgender Pride flag during the pride march held in one of the most imp
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Erica Anderson, a “transgender woman,” clinical psychologist, and former president of the U.S. Professional Association for Transgender Health, believes that parents have the right to know everything their children are going through in school, including so-called “transitioning” from one sex to another.

Anderson made the remarks in an interview on CNN with radio host Michael Smerconish, who asked Anderson about the controversy that has led to parents filing lawsuits in several states over schools secretly “transitioning” students as young as those in elementary school. 

“Dr. Anderson, you’re both psychologist and part of the community and yet you think parents need to be in the loop. How come?” Smerconish asked.

“Well, parents have the responsibility for the overall well being of their children,” Anderson said. “And they partner with educators when kids are in school, but they don’t give up that responsibility just because the child is at school.”

“It’s important that parents know what’s going on with their children,” Anderson said.

Smerconish asked Anderson if these clandestine transitions are necessary because children are afraid to tell their parents about what they are going through.

“Not necessarily, in my opinion,” Anderson said. “Children are often afraid to tell parents lots of things. And so we can’t take that necessarily as the indicator that there’s something wrong at home. We do have provision for detecting whether there’s abuse, and educators are mandated reporters, but I don’t think we should the default position should be to assume that there’s a problem at home. Most parents love their children and are eager to do what’s right for them.”

Anderson said the processes in place to make sure parents are involved in their children’s education — school counselors, parent/teacher conferences, etc. — can apply to this issue. 

“I think ultimately we want parents and educators collaborating on what’s best for every child,” Anderson said.

Smerconish also asked about the charges that some professionals are promoting transgenderism to younger and younger children.

“I guess my question for you is given the fluidity of identification does that impact are we moving too quickly, for example, to affirm gender identity among the youth?” Smerconish asked. 

“I’ve been very vocal about this for some time — the concern that professionals are too quick to facilitate transitions and even medicalization,” Anderson said. “I think we have to distinguish between the ordinary exploration of identity that kids go through especially adolescence and gender questioning, and distinguish that from transgender identity or a need to transition. But I don’t think that differentiation is happening routinely yet.”

Anderson said that when a child reaches “the age of majority” … “we want to give some latitude of agency to the young person.”

“But someone who’s eight or nine years old, someone who’s 12 or 13 years old, they’re still a child, and parents are owed the courtesy of knowing what’s going on with their child about these issues. Just as they are informed about another health problem, or a performance problem in school. There’s a time honored process of doing parent teacher conferences about issues with kids. And we need to do that with this issue now.”

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