“What’s all this talk about gender pronouns? And what does it really mean to be transgender anyway? What’s up with this gender neutral bathroom thing?”
We’ve all put our foot in our mouths when talking about gender. It’s a complicated topic! Gender is core to the identity and reality of children, youth, and families. On this page, you’ll find resources about this topic and how to talk about it.
Gender: Refers to cultural ideas of masculinity and femininity used to organize identities, behaviors, and social roles.
Gender identity: Refers to how people think about themselves in regard to the labels of “girl,” “woman,” “boy,” “man,” or some other label (e.g. androgynous, transgender, gender nonconforming, etc).
Gender expression: How individuals enact and exhibit their gender identity.
Gender roles or gender norms: Refers to how girls and boys, women and men, are expected to behave in a given society.
Cisgender: Refers to a person whose gender identity and expression are aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Trans (shorthand for transgender): A descriptive term inclusive of the spectrum of individuals whose assigned sex at birth does not align with their own sense of gender identity and those who do not conform to societal gender norms.
Gender nonconforming: A descriptive term and/or identity of a person who has a gender identity and/or expression that does not conform to the traditional expectations of the gender they were assigned at birth. People who identify as “gender nonconforming” or “gender variant” may or may not also identify as “transgender.”
Learn more about terminology here: National Center for Transgender Equality. Find a graphical representation of how to think about some of these terms here: Trans student educational resources.
Meeting the needs of transgender youth — CYFC hosted seven regional events on this topic in winter and spring 2018.
Mental health of transgender youth: The role of family, school, and community in promoting resilience (PDF) — Learn about the mental health of transgender youth, including the role of family, school and community in promoting resilience. Read a summary of this Children's Mental Health eReview issue (PDF).
As part of its 2016-2017 Scholar in Residence Program, Extension CYFC produced five short videos featuring researchers from land-grant universities across the country. These researchers served as panelists at the October 11, 2017 University of Minnesota Extension Program Conference in a presentation titled "Health, Well-being and Economic Opportunity for LGBT People in Rural Environments.” Jenifer McGuire, Ph.D., professor with the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, served as Extension CYFC Scholar in Residence at this time.
Watch these videos:
Meeting the needs of transgender youth in rural contexts video – Jenifer McGuire, Ph.D., MPH, University of Minnesota
How communities are organized to meet the needs of rural LGBT-parent families video – Ramona Faith Oswald, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Health and mental health for LGBT persons in rural contexts video – Courtney Cuthbertson, Ph.D., Michigan State University
Helping rural families when a youth comes out as LGBT video – Erika Grafsky, Ph.D., Virginia Tech
Appearance issues of LGBT individuals video – Andy Reilly, Ph.D., University of Hawaii
Transgender topics — A playlist of videos answering questions about trans identity, gender fluidity, being gender non-conforming, and other topics surrounding gender.
Journal articles — Trans youth mental health (PDF) — Research on the health and well-being of transgender youth in the context of families, schools and community.
Articles — Gender and mental health (PDF) — Research on mental health as it relates to gender identity development, sexual orientation, gender variation and related issues.
Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER) — This national organization led by trans youth is dedicated to transforming the educational environment for transgender and gender nonconforming students.
TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation (TKPRF) — This foundation is committed to enhancing the lives of trans youth by educating schools, places of worship, the medical community, government agencies, and society in general, in an effort to seek fair and equal treatment for all trans youth.
TransYouth Family Allies — This nonprofit empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers, and communities to develop supportive environments in which gender is supported and respected.
Children's book review – Transgender youth (PDF) — A collection of books for young children, young adults, and teenagers that feature transgender or gender nonconforming characters
Lessons from the field: Supporting trans youth resource list for educators, families, and K-12 students (PDF)— Additional resources to support transgender and gender nonconforming students in schools.
These are local organizations serving trans youth and LGB populations.
OutFront Minnesota — This coalition’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.
PFLAG — This nonprofit civil rights organization provides programs, meetings, and support groups for parents, friends, families, and allies of LGBT persons.
RECLAIM — This organization works to increase access to mental health support so that queer and trans youth may reclaim their lives from oppression in all its forms.
Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition — This coalition offers several free services to the transgender and gender nonconforming community.
Center for Sexual Health — University of Minnesota MHealth Fairview— This clinic specializes in the health of transgender and gender nonconforming youth.
Family Tree Clinic — This community clinic is committed to improving the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer individuals through affordable, respectful sexual health care and education.
Out 4 Good — Minneapolis Public Schools — This program is dedicated to creating safe and supportive schools for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, families, teachers, and staff.
Out for Equity — Saint Paul Public School District — This program strives to maintain a safe and welcoming school environment that fosters positive self-esteem, respect for others, and academic success for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students, staff members, and families.