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Resources on Gender

Wondering if anyone knows of some good resources on gender identity development. A mom I’m working with has a little guy who just turned 3 who loves to wear princess dresses, always prefers to play with girls, opts to be the mommy when they play house and the other day said to his mom if he had a magic wand it could take away his penis and give him a vagina so he could be a girl. Mom and dad both recognize that this may be a very typical developmental phase and have been very calm and non- anxious so far,  but also are looking for some guidance/ resources.  Any ideas?


Jani Holyan

6 Comments to “Resources on Gender”
  1. Gender is on a continuum and not necessarily expressed outwardly by genitalia. Indeed some persons are inwardly one gender yet outwardly another, thus creating conflict requiring gender reassignment to resolve.

    Just sayin….



  2. Right- there is good understanding of the point you’re making. These parents are seeking to approach this issue in the healthiest way possible with the awareness that this may be a typical developmental phase that will pass and it may also be an expression of an authentic emerging awareness and they want to help support him in whatever way they can.

    Janelle Holyn

  3. Janelle,

    I have had similar discussions with parents over the years and it is confusing for all of us as there are no clear determinants for eventual outcomes for sexual orientation and what the parents are seeing can be a normal part of development. The parents I worked with also wanted to know how they might respond to support their children whatever the eventual outcome. In my search for information, I contacted the local Infant Mental Health experts and eventually found the Gender and Sexuality Psychosocial program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.

    They seemed to have the most information for professionals and families. While it may be premature to pass this link to the parents, it helped me to sort out some of the developmental issues and what the research says.

    Barbara LeBlanc,

  4. Thanks so much Barbara- this is really helpful!

  5. Here’s another good resource from the American Psychological Association:

    Two other resources:
    The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachael Pepper (Cleis Press, 2008). The most comprehensive book I’m aware of for professionals
    The Central Toronto Youth Services has accessible resources for families:

    In particular, this booklet is useful:

    I hope these are helpful too.


    I found the two above articles very helpful. Just to clarify, surgical
    gender reassignment is a last resort in resolving the conflict. Counselling
    on acceptance of the overabundance of the male or female parts that we all
    have in our sexuality is the preferred solution.

    Warm regards, Judy