TransActive Professional Development

Early Childhood Development and Gender Diversity

This workshop focuses on the developmental stages of gender diverse expression and identity in early childhood (age 18 months to age 7). Multiple studies show that by age 7, transgender and otherwise gender diverse children (approx. 7% of all children) are aware of the ways in which their identity and expression is different from that of their cisgender peers. Prior to that, parents, caregivers, family and friends may (or may not) have observed gender nonconforming behaviors or interests in a child and wondered ‘how’ and ‘why’ their child was different from other children. This workshop will address evidence-based factors that impact that development and expose myths and disinformation about ‘why’ visible gender diversity exists in a growing number of very young children.

By the end of the workshop attendees will be better prepared to:

  • Identify stages of gender self-expression and factors that can encourage (or discourage) such self-expression
  • Understand the dangers of over-emphasis on conforming to assigned gender role stereotypes (“Gender Reveal Party”, etc.)
  • Engage parents, family members, friend and colleagues in evidence-based discussions of natural gender diversity in children
  • Use gender inclusive language and terminology to communicate effectively with children and adults about gender diverse identity and expression
  • Examine existing processes and procedures to expand establishment of gender diverse affirming and inclusive spaces for children

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