TRANSGENDER/GENDER NON-CONFORMING GROUP
Over the last 3 years, Youth Crossroads (YC) has developed a therapeutic group at Morton West High School (MWHS) for students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming. Now, for the first time, the program has been brought to Morton East High School (MEHS) and has started with a strong turnout of 13 students.
These groups, run by YC counselors and a school social worker, help students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming to: 1. Build a stronger support system for processing issues related to gender identity; 2. Strengthen coping skills to help decrease anxiety and depression; 3. Improve their ability to communicate their gender identity. One student involved in the group at MWHS said,
“The group has connected me with people that feel the same way I do. Everyone I’ve been around has made me so happy and the group has given me confidence to talk to people about what bothers me. Thank you.”
Students who have started in the group at MEHS stated this is “something that Morton East has needed.” MEHS School Psychologist and YC Board member, Dr. Meghan Meyer, and school social worker, Angelica Guzman, will also work with the students throughout the year.
The group is a great way for students to meet other trans/gender non-conforming teens, discuss topics unique to their experience, and find support within the school from both peers and adults. Students will also discuss the history of the trans community in the US and other countries.
The concept of an individual identifying as transgender is often misunderstood and misconstrued in the media. Often times, being transgender is attached to the concept of who that individual is attracted to sexually. This is not the case though. Identifying as transgender is about how you see and feel about yourself, not others.
The site GenderBread.org describes Gender Identity this way: How you, in your head, define your gender, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for gender: your level of woman-ness and level of male-ness. For an individual who identifies transgender, this means they align with a gender that is different than the biological parts they were born with.
If you are interested in learning more about LGBTQ issues, check out these on-line resources:
- Gender Spectrum: https://www.genderspectrum.org/ This organization has great resources for transgender and gender questioning youth.
- Safe Schools Coalition: http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org/youth/index.html Information and resources for LGBT youth, including a specific page for transgender youth.
- Information about LGBT issues in schools: http://www.GenderBread.org/Explainers