A comprehensive guide to the medical, emotional, and social issues of trans kids.
These days, it is practically impossible not to hear about some aspect of transgender life. Whether it is the bathroom issue in North Carolina, trans people in the military, or on television, trans life has become front and center after years of marginalization.
And kids are coming out as trans at younger and younger ages, which is a good thing for them.
But what written resources are available to parents, teachers, and mental health professionals who need to support these children?
Elijah C. Nealy, a therapist and former deputy executive director of New York City’s LGBT Community Center, and himself a trans man, has written the first-ever comprehensive guide to understanding, supporting, and welcoming trans kids.
Covering everything from family life to school and mental health issues, as well as the physical, social, and emotional aspects of transition, this book is full of best practices to support trans kids.
About the Author
Elijah C. Nealy, PhD, MDiv, LCSW, is assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice at the University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. As an out transgender man, he has spent the past twenty- five years working extensively within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Here's the book that caregivers and family members of transgender children have been waiting for. With equal measures sound scientific reasoning and genuine human compassion, Elijah Nealy provides a thoughtful roadmap for anyone trying to support our precious—and endangered—trans youth. An invaluable resource.
— Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There and Long Black Veil
Elijah Nealy’s book is an incredibly complete and empathic guide to supporting gender expansive youth, their families and communities. While remaining accessible, it embraces the complexities of gender diversity, intersectionality and the role of caregivers and professionals in their lives. You will finish this book feeling equipped to be a better ally, and probably a better person.
— Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT, Director, Gender and Family Project, Ackerman Institute for the Family
Transgender Children and Youth creates space for families to gain a deeper understanding of gender diversity and provides tools to best support and affirm living authentically with unconditional love. Although every family’s journey is unique, this resource remains relevant at every stage of transition, lending honest, compassionate, and empowering insight into questions, challenges, and celebrations parents of transgender and gender-variant children experience.
— Michelle Honda-Phillips, Parent Advocate, Transgender & Gender-Expansive Youth
There could hardly be a better time for this insightful, thoughtful guide to supporting transgender children and youth.… Through vignettes illustrating common counseling situations, Nealy shares experiences with parents and teens going through the coming-out process and provides an enormous amount of guidance for those facing gender questions for themselves or family and friends. In fact, this should be considered a critical volume for anyone involved with schools or working or volunteering with children and teens.… Nealy powerfully makes the case for what can be done to ease the pain of these children. A must-read for anyone who wants to help trans youth.
Transgender Children and Youth is as much an educational book as it is a book that advocates for the rights of transgender youth to grow up to be the person that they have dreamed about, want to be, or always viewed themselves as. . . The book is a valuable resource not only for mental health professionals, but also for families with transgender children. With Nealy taking his time to explain the issues facing transgender youth, the book is truly accessible to any reader, no matter their level of interaction with, or understanding of transgender youth.
[A] comprehensive and compassionate narrative that will prove useful for anyone seeking to better understand and support transgender youth. . . . Nealy focuses not only on coming out as transgender but also on building and living a life as a happy transgender individual.
Elijah Nealy has presented very complex issues in an incredibly clear and accessible manner. In order to really understand transgender adults coming into treatment it will help immensely if we understand the experiences of transgender youth. Many of the principles and guidelines presented are relevant to working with transgender-identified individuals of any age. . . . [I]ncredibly illuminating, even for the most experienced counselor.
In writing his book, Nealy has accomplished a huge and
valuable feat that will serve to foster the healthy development of transgender
and gender non-conforming youth, the acceptance and well-being of families, and
the ability of therapists to improve their skills with youth and families.
[A]n accessible, meticulously explained and supported introduction to the particular issues trans children and teenagers face, and how best to address them. . . . Nealy illustrates repeatedly through Transgender Children and Youth that acceptance can be fostered, schools held accountable and progress made.
There is much to be gained from a work such as this. It fundamentally humanises a population that has been long been pathologised. It presents a stark image of the damage that can be done to young transgendered individuals. More importantly, it stands as a positive framework to nurture young people and celebrate diversity in all its forms.
In this age of ever-expanding gender creativity, every mental professional working with children and families will inevitably meet up with a transgender youth. Elijah Nealy has given us the gift of an extraordinary comprehensive, insightful, and empathic book to guide us in their care and ensure gender health for the children, families, and surrounding social world. A must read for anyone who will have a transgender child in their life.
— Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., author of Gender Born, Gender Made and The Gender Creative Child, Director of Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Gender Center, UC San Francisco
Elijah Nealy, a therapist and clergyperson with substantial experience working with transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth, has written a very valuable book for therapists, medical clinicians, and families. This book will serve as an essential reference to assist in better care of TGNC youth, and for families to learn more and come to accept and support their TGNC children. Dr. Nealy writes about this often confusing and controversial area in a clear, lucid style, discussing the meanings of gender variations and the uses and misuses of gender identity diagnoses, providing a helpful review of the diagnostic process and caveats involved. The very helpful vignettes he presents bring to life the various topics with insightful suggestions and practical examples - even a top 10 list! I will be recommending Dr. Nealy’s contribution to my trainees, families, and colleagues.
— Richard R. Pleak, MD, Founding Member, Center for Transgender Health, Northwell Health
Nealy’s writing is both profound and personal, offering readers an enormous amount of solid information along with deep insights and suggestions that everyone in our society needs to challenge our traditional oversimplified, bifurcated understanding of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Nealy draws you in with clear and honest personal exploration of the clinical dilemmas in working with children, their families and the systems in which they are embedded.
— Monica McGoldrick, MSW, PhD (h.c.), Director, Multicultural Family Institute