Understanding Gender Identity and Supporting Transgender Youth

Marin School

Recently, several members of The Marin School high school arranged a virtual meeting to connect with the Gay-Straight Alliance of a nearby middle school. Even through the Zoom portal and the occasional audio glitch, the connection between the two groups was strong and clear as the students, ranging in age from 12 to 17, shared about how their friends and families reacted when they came out as transgender, non-binary, or gender fluid. They lent each other support and advice and shared a few of the different ways to navigate the new complexities of once-simple things like restrooms, sleepovers, and crushes. They shared ways to respond to reactions like “you’ll always be my daughter,” and “it’s just a phase” or “you might feel that way now, but…” and how to find an empathetic ally to lean on, like an older sibling, counselor, or friend.

Are you the caregiver of a young person exploring their gender identity? Do you sometimes struggle with the right words or the “right thing” to do to show your love and support? Are you hoping to learn more about what this exploration will mean for your child?

If so, we welcome you to check out The Marin School and The Spahr Center’s presentation on gender identity and practical advice on how you can support the transgender youth in your life..

the spahr center

Part 1: LGBTQ + 101

  • Part 1 of this event included a breakdown of terminology, pronouns, language best practices, myths, and facts about gender identity, plus time to answer audience questions.

Part 2: Panel Discussion and Q&A with:

  • Fel Agrelius, Director of LGBTQ+ Programs at The Spahr Center
  • Alex Marshall, a student at Evergreen College, LGBTQ activist, and former TMS student
  • Andrea Coughlan, parent group facilitator, educator, and Alex’s mom
  • Janna Barkin, Parent Group Advisor at The Spahr Center, author, educator, and mom of a transgender son

The panelists shared personal stories, answer questions, and talk about why it is especially important to support transgender youth and how each of us can do that right now.

View the discussion Q+A here.

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