Why do trans childhoods cause so much “discomfort”?

What are free childhoods and teens? Is it possible to think of them free from binary ideas, stereotypes, violence and machismo? How do socio-cultural contexts affect gender roles and identity during childhood and adolescence?

The above are approaches launched by the Second International Meeting Free and Diverse Childhoods and Adolescents, which takes place from this Wednesday until November 25, virtually and under the theme “Territories, narratives and fantasies”, organized by the José Emilio Pacheco Chair for Reading Promotion of the UNAM, in collaboration with other chairs and bodies of the highest house of studies together with the Niñeces Presentes Collective.

To open your mouth, the meeting, whose mission is to make visible the rights of girls, boys and adolescents due to their freedom of gender-gender identity, started with the conference “Other bodies, new identities”, given by the Argentine writer, lecturer and activist for the rights of trans and transvestite children Gabriela Mansilla, also president of the civil association Infancias Libres and mother of La Luana, the first trans girl in the world to have her identity recognized in an official document, this in 2013.

In gender identity, Mansilla indicated, there is usually a “false idea of ​​sexual orientations.” That is, he said, if a minor person who has a penis manifests an identity associated with the female gender, he is immediately confused and is said to be a homosexual, effeminate or queer child.

On the other hand, if a certain person with a vulva manifests a masculine gender identity, it is immediately said that she is a “queer, lesbian, cake” girl.

Confusing gender identity with sexual orientation, he mentioned, “is the first thing that families do, because we don’t have information and we don’t know what to do in the face of this manifestation. What has to be clear is that all people have gender identity, not just trans and transvestite children ”.

So, “what to do with the discomfort that is generated when we become aware that there is a girl with a penis or a boy with a vulva and they do not respond to the mandates of cisheteronormativity?”

As families we have to work on our own prejudices, with what they will say, with the information we do not have, how to face fears and go out to fight, to knock on doors, to demand respect. It seems that trans and transvestite children do not have the same rights as other people ”.

Now, Mansilla added, once the recognition of the gender identity of a minor is achieved, the idea that everything is already done begins to be installed. However, he warned, “when you have to go through different social spaces (the family, the school, the health system), the identity document is not enough because these children begin not only to bother with their identity and their name because they are not reflected and legitimized their corporeality within a book, the context or the bibliographic material ”.

He remarked that even the subtleties of language are harmful to the fight against gender identity intolerance: “they are not girls who feel like boys or the other way around, but rather they are trans children: girls who were born with a penis, boys who were born with a vulva” .

These children begin to pay the consequences of their disobedience to the norm, he lamented, with alleged corrective or professional therapies that pathologize identity.

“Trans childhood today continues to be the subject of study, and in reality those who have to be that subject of study are us, adults. We must review our own childhood, realize how they have shaped us and if we were really free childhoods, if we could choose what we could play with, if we chose our name, our clothes, which bathroom we wanted to go to, how to relate to each other. We are going to realize that within the heteropatriarchal model we had to respond to the rules ”, he concluded.

For those interested in the meeting:

It is possible to follow and retake the tables and conferences of the Second International Free and Diverse Childhood and Adolescence Meeting through the Facebook account Universo UNAM.

Among other topics present in both sessions are: “Migrant and rural childhoods”, “Overcoming injustices, defending rights” and “Letters and imagination. The creative power since childhood and adolescence ”.

The program is available through the following link: https://catedrapacheco.unam.mx/app/uploads/2021/05/Programacion-E-Infancias-y-Adolescencias-con-Programa-Periferico-version-al-5-nov.docx-2.pdf

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