According to a study published in the Journal of Homosexuality, the majority of transgender teens and young adults surveyed began "feeling they were transgender at puberty." Of course, this may happen later for other individuals and earlier for others. As reported by Reuters last year, some doctors and parents found that children knew their true gender identity by age three.
Transgender children and teens are also bullied at higher rates than their cisgender peers, so it's both logical and responsible for schools to educate their students about gender identity. But a health teacher at Cambridge Central School in Cambridge, NY has been suspended after seventh-graders received a handout that provided educational information about transgender issues, The Post Star reports.
The handout was provided by an employee from the Pride Center of the Capital Region as part of a presentation that was given to seventh and 10th grade health classes. After receiving complaints from parents, the school says its looking into whether or not the health teacher looked at the handout before the presentation, according to The Post Star.
According to the outlet, the school district's superintendent Vince Canini spoke about the issue last week: "The parents have concerns, and they are mine as well," he said, adding that, “we have never had this issue before. We may have to make some policy changes because of it."
Some parents reportedly took issue with handouts that addressed LGBTQ terminology and delved into transgender issues.
Martha Harvey, president and CEO of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, stands by the handouts and made the incredibly important point that transgender children are coming out at early ages: "Transgender kids are coming out younger and younger. Middle school is not too early to start... If you love your kids, you want them to have the most information possible. If a parent has a problem with this presentation, that’s the parent’s problem," Harvey said, as reported by The Post Star.
It seems highly likely that these students have LGBTQ peers, and education is key to preventing the bullying and stigmatization of LGBTQ students.
Refinery29 has reached out to Canini, Harvey, and Cambridge Central School's principal for comment.