Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy visited the studio and shared her insight on transyouth care today. She examined the facts, complexities, and hardships for individuals with gender dysphoria and addresses the societal stigma. We transcribed an especially poignant section of this episode below.
“When conformity is at a premium in the middle school years, feeling different for any reason is horrible and so for a young person that has not socially transitioned yet, I always say that before you disclose your authentic gender, your secret is you’re trans. And after you socially transition and you’re presenting as your authentic self, your secret is you’re trans.
That’s ongoing and for a lot of people, secret equals shame. Living with shame on a daily basis is hard. It’s a big task and it shows up in a lot of ways. For older kids, there are questions like: who am I going to partner with? How am I going to tell people this truth about myself? And how am I going to talk about it? Who do I have to tell and when do I have to tell them?
There’s a common perception that people have and it comes from parents a lot as well, that if they don’t disclose this information, they’re lying to people. Actually you’re not, this is private information. You should have the right to disclose it or not depending on your situation and what feels right for you. There’s a constant ongoing thing that I hear that cisgender people feel entitled to know things about trans people that they have no right to know. Empowering young people to say, ‘Google it. You wanna know more about it? Google it. I’m not obligated to tell you my life story. I’m not obligated to tell you about my body. I’m not obligated to tell you about my genitals or any of those things.’
That’s a really important piece for both families and young people to have in order to be armed to move forward and feel better. At the end of the day, until we start celebrating trans identities, we really can’t expect young people to integrate trans identity into their core self with great happiness.”
This is only a brief preview of the valuable information that Dr. Olson-Kennedy shares. To hear the full podcast, visit iTunes.