Gender Dynamics

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Lamplight Therapy | Offerings | Individual, Couple, Child, Transgender counseling and mindfulness groups in Eugene, Oregon. Antra Renault, MSW
Quoted From:

"I currently see adults (individually and in groups) and children that identify as having gender-related dynamics in their lives. "Gender" is the internal feeling and experience of being male or female or even something in-between or on a spectrum. While our society loves to place things neatly in black and white categories, or wants us to conform to typical "norms", life and our experiences of ourselves and others are not that simple. Gender is no longer looked at as "binary", or only one or the other. Gender is different than "sexuality" and often people mistake them for one another. Sexuality is who you"re attracted to or want to have sexual or romantic intimacy with. While sexuality begins around puberty or a bit before, gender is developmentally experienced, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, by age four. I"ll say that again. A child may be born with male body parts yet feel more female, or vise versa, and this internal feeling solidifies by the age of four.In my experiences, children (and adults) that are gender-nonconforming have some folks who fully support their felt/internal gender, even if it differs from their sex organs, and then they have others in their lives who are not as "accepting". I believe that the non-accepting person is doing so less out of judgement per say, and more out of an urge to protect the child. Growing up is hard enough for youth and to have certain things that may make them a target for abuse or harassment is very serious and scary. Despite this desire to protect, the research shows some very firm data on what acceptance vs. rejection does for children as they mature to adults. According to the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University (this is fairly obvious), children growing up that do not conform to their birth gender but are supported heavily, have way fewer experiences of mental health challenges, suicide, substance abuse, etc. than those with more non-accepting experiences. "Accepting" does not mean "agreeing" or even "understanding fully". What it does mean is that we meet children, teens, and adults for that matter, where they are. We do our research. We allow for space to question, talk, change, and grow. What we don"t want is for anyone to shut down, internalize, become depressed or look to substances or self-harm due to an internal struggle or external social denial or harassment."

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