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The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes

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From a leading US authority on a subject more timely than ever—an up-to-date, all-in-one resource on gender-nonconforming children and adolescents In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth From a leading US authority on a subject more timely than ever—an up-to-date, all-in-one resource on gender-nonconforming children and adolescents In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth certificate. Now, with The Gender Creative Child, she returns to guide parents and professionals through the rapidly changing cultural, medical, and legal landscape of gender and identity.   In this up-to-date, comprehensive resource, Dr. Ehrensaft explains the interconnected effects of biology, nurture, and culture to explore why gender can be fluid, rather than binary. As an advocate for the gender affirmative model and with the expertise she has gained over three decades of pioneering work with children and families, she encourages caregivers to listen to each child, learn their particular needs, and support their quest for a true gender self. The Gender Creative Child unlocks the door to a gender-expansive world, revealing pathways for positive change in our schools, our communities, and the world.


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From a leading US authority on a subject more timely than ever—an up-to-date, all-in-one resource on gender-nonconforming children and adolescents In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth From a leading US authority on a subject more timely than ever—an up-to-date, all-in-one resource on gender-nonconforming children and adolescents In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth certificate. Now, with The Gender Creative Child, she returns to guide parents and professionals through the rapidly changing cultural, medical, and legal landscape of gender and identity.   In this up-to-date, comprehensive resource, Dr. Ehrensaft explains the interconnected effects of biology, nurture, and culture to explore why gender can be fluid, rather than binary. As an advocate for the gender affirmative model and with the expertise she has gained over three decades of pioneering work with children and families, she encourages caregivers to listen to each child, learn their particular needs, and support their quest for a true gender self. The Gender Creative Child unlocks the door to a gender-expansive world, revealing pathways for positive change in our schools, our communities, and the world.

30 review for The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Danni Green

    The idea of this book was promising but the execution was disappointing, and at times, infuriating. The author frequently disregards the voices of transgender and gender non-conforming people, sharing stories in which she uses the wrong pronouns for children while she's chastising their parents for misgendering them, asking transgender people for guidance about what language to use and then rationalizing her choice to ignore that guidance, etc. Overall, it was very frustrating to read; I felt li The idea of this book was promising but the execution was disappointing, and at times, infuriating. The author frequently disregards the voices of transgender and gender non-conforming people, sharing stories in which she uses the wrong pronouns for children while she's chastising their parents for misgendering them, asking transgender people for guidance about what language to use and then rationalizing her choice to ignore that guidance, etc. Overall, it was very frustrating to read; I felt like she had some very good points to make, but the way she went about presenting them severely undermined what she was trying to do, and I honestly have to say I think this book is likely to be more harmful than beneficial by modeling poor ally behavior for cisgender providers and support people of transgender children.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Needlessly jargon-loaded BS. A lot of it reads like some kind of starseed parenting manual, making it very clear that the innate glowing specialness of the transgender child will shine on parents too, if they just take their kids to Ehrensaft or an Ehrensaft-like proxy. I've been to a conference Ehrensaft presents at as a (then) transgender teenager. When I looked at the kids my age around me, even then, I didn't see kids who seemed especially creative, or brave. I saw extremely anxious, uncomfo Needlessly jargon-loaded BS. A lot of it reads like some kind of starseed parenting manual, making it very clear that the innate glowing specialness of the transgender child will shine on parents too, if they just take their kids to Ehrensaft or an Ehrensaft-like proxy. I've been to a conference Ehrensaft presents at as a (then) transgender teenager. When I looked at the kids my age around me, even then, I didn't see kids who seemed especially creative, or brave. I saw extremely anxious, uncomfortable ones, and we all had no idea how to relate to each other. The Academic Decathlon crowd had better social skills. Transition isn't usually very fun. I think about being there, every bit as stiff and nervous as most of my peers, and her relentlessly positive take on complicated feelings around gender in childhood seems pretty clueless. Cute to read all the comments she makes about how rare it is for anyone to regret transition... it's pretty rare for people to transition, too, but obviously that's not an excuse to act like it never happens. Whatever. The little comments about kids feeling harmed by transition in any way, being written as hypotheticals? Whatever!!! Basically: this book sucks.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Gryphon

    When the obituary for the gender binary is written (being perhaps more optimistic than realistic) this book will surely be listed as a major contribution to its passing. Not just because of the scientific/medical information that it contains. Dr. Ehrensaft’s writing style makes the information easily available to pretty much any reader. That is, this book provides other professional or volunteer service providers a solid approach to working with gender creative clients and gives parents of gend When the obituary for the gender binary is written (being perhaps more optimistic than realistic) this book will surely be listed as a major contribution to its passing. Not just because of the scientific/medical information that it contains. Dr. Ehrensaft’s writing style makes the information easily available to pretty much any reader. That is, this book provides other professional or volunteer service providers a solid approach to working with gender creative clients and gives parents of gender creative children (and those children) information and support. Her work with younger clients has honed her ability to clearly explain complex, or at least untraditional, concepts. From the term “gender creative” (coined in her previous book Gender Born, Gender Made) to “gender effervescence versus gender despair“(page 53) to “gender is the cure, not the disease“(page 249) this book is about affirming our reality, not enforcing modern society’s fundamentalist gender binary. The entire (c) review continues at http://genderqueer.life/2017/03/the-g...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Wyss

    A critically important book to all those who support and/or love trans and gender non-conforming children and youth. It's well-written, accessible, thorough, and enlivened by combined profiles of some of the children, youth, and families whom Ehrensaft has helped to council. "The Gender Creative Child" is a significant improvement on Ehrensaft's previous (but still wonderful) "Gender Born, Gender Made," which focused mostly on traditionally gendered trans children and youth (i.e., those who are c A critically important book to all those who support and/or love trans and gender non-conforming children and youth. It's well-written, accessible, thorough, and enlivened by combined profiles of some of the children, youth, and families whom Ehrensaft has helped to council. "The Gender Creative Child" is a significant improvement on Ehrensaft's previous (but still wonderful) "Gender Born, Gender Made," which focused mostly on traditionally gendered trans children and youth (i.e., those who are comfortable within the binary gender system). This new book fully incorporates gender non-conforming young people who may not identify with a traditional "boy" or "girl" label -- or who may not do so in a traditional way. Ehrensaft is an incredibly important ally for these children and youth and their families, both those whom she sees in her clinical practice and those who are touched, directly or indirectly, by her writing and other advocacy. The one thing holding me back from giving her a five-star review is her lack of incorporation of the intersections of race, class, immigration status, and a host of other factors in the lives of the young people about which she writes. (She does, however, spend time talking about the correlation between autism spectrum (dis)orders and transgender/gender non-conformity.) She attempts to write about people who are without race, class, etc. But as with any author who does so, that means that, by default, she focuses on those who are white, middle class, and born in the US. An author who ignores that specificities of these other identities ends up making people with those identities invisible. For better or worse, though, Ehrensaft is in very good company in falling into this pit. Hopefully, it is a pit out of which she can climb in her next book, a book that i eagerly anticipate. With that being said, this is an incredibly important work and should be read by any parent, teacher, counselor, religious leader, aunt, uncle, cousin, adult sibling or babysitter, etc., who has or may have a gender non-conforming or trans child in hir life. Approaching Ehrensaft's book with an open heart and mind, the reader will emerge much better able to support and advocate for the young people in hir life who likely are in deep need of such support. Thank you, Dr. Ehrensaft, for yet again supporting "our" children and youth. All of us owe you our gratitude for it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    A very engaging and quick read about children (ages 3-18) who declare themselves to be other than the gender that was marked on their birth certificates. Dr Ehrensaft's revolutionary approach to this? We should listen to them. Psychological, medical and anecdotal stories are woven together into an affirmative and loving celebration of gender creative children and their families. A very engaging and quick read about children (ages 3-18) who declare themselves to be other than the gender that was marked on their birth certificates. Dr Ehrensaft's revolutionary approach to this? We should listen to them. Psychological, medical and anecdotal stories are woven together into an affirmative and loving celebration of gender creative children and their families.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scott Robins

    Super comprehensive - learned a ton in this. Skimmed over a lot of the clinical stuff and focused more on the anecdotes and basic information. Good start on research for my middle grade novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy Wishman Nalan

    A wonderful resource for parents of gender creative kids and others seeking information. Written in a positive, affirming way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rosie

    I love Diane Ehrensaft. I think she writes about gender in childhood in a meaningful yet approachable way and has done a ton of important work in supporting gender expansive children. I still think her book "Gender Born, Gender Made" is a bit better than this one but this one is really good as well. It expands on many of the ideas that she initially presented in "Gender Born, Gender Made" and finishes with some of her own realizations she had even while writing the book. In particular I like tha I love Diane Ehrensaft. I think she writes about gender in childhood in a meaningful yet approachable way and has done a ton of important work in supporting gender expansive children. I still think her book "Gender Born, Gender Made" is a bit better than this one but this one is really good as well. It expands on many of the ideas that she initially presented in "Gender Born, Gender Made" and finishes with some of her own realizations she had even while writing the book. In particular I like that she realizes how her primary focus is transgender children and that children who are gender creative without necessarily identifying as the opposite gender they were born as need support to see themselves more in the bigger world. It's true that books about boys in dresses or girls with penises seem easier to come by than books with characters who more challenge gender boundaries without necessarily being transgender. As a person who identifies as cisgender (maybe because that felt like the only option growing up, who knows) but also is well aware of falling outside of a lot of stereotypical gender boundaries growing up--I agree that more needs to be written for these gender creative children. Still, as I have mentioned in other reviews, the trans population needs books like this as well. It's so important that we as a community learn to create gender supportive classrooms for all types of children. It's certainly a goal of mine, and Ehrensaft's work helps to me understand better in particular how to support trans children.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jane H

    not a quick read, but a thorough look at all the elements of raising or otherwise supporting a gender creative child. with chapters on gender, ways it's expressed, overlap of gender creativeness and co-occurring diagnoses, supporting parents, seeking professional help for mental health or from MD's, this book offers a broad look at all the issues facing our children. I appreciated the research and the anecdotes, and can't wait for further research to continue offering us more answers, so we can not a quick read, but a thorough look at all the elements of raising or otherwise supporting a gender creative child. with chapters on gender, ways it's expressed, overlap of gender creativeness and co-occurring diagnoses, supporting parents, seeking professional help for mental health or from MD's, this book offers a broad look at all the issues facing our children. I appreciated the research and the anecdotes, and can't wait for further research to continue offering us more answers, so we can understand and support our gender creative children even better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    649.1 E335 2016

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    A good resource book with a lot of information .

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    A must read for families and educators of children who express their gender differently.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This will definitely be a book that I recommend to parents and service providers alike.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adelaide

    Running friends book club. I found this book very helpful in familiarizing myself with the current thinking on gender exploration in childhood. I particularly appreciated her re-framing of the research from the Netherlands showing that a large number of children "outgrow" nonconforming gender expression by puberty, which has led to the "wait and see" approach. Ehrensaft argues that we can sort out the "desisters" from the "persisters" even at a young age, and it is critical to do so. Waiting and Running friends book club. I found this book very helpful in familiarizing myself with the current thinking on gender exploration in childhood. I particularly appreciated her re-framing of the research from the Netherlands showing that a large number of children "outgrow" nonconforming gender expression by puberty, which has led to the "wait and see" approach. Ehrensaft argues that we can sort out the "desisters" from the "persisters" even at a young age, and it is critical to do so. Waiting and seeing is psychologically damaging, and puts children at risk for dangerous coping strategies. -insistent, persistent, consistent; "I am" rather than "I wish," gender play as identity communication -"just a phase" implies this is something you should hope your child outgrows -change the mindset of support to the mindset of acceptance -"recognize the child we have, rather than the one we thought we were going to have"

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom Jorgenson

    I learned A TON from this book about the medical and psychological considerations that face gender-creative kids and their families. I know this will be helpful knowledge to have in the future. However—It was only published 3 years ago, but bits of it feel outdated already, as the author acknowledges in the last chapter. I’m sure a lot of the medical and psychological info has changed or developed further. And the deadnaming and referencing people by incorrect pronouns in particular felt outdate I learned A TON from this book about the medical and psychological considerations that face gender-creative kids and their families. I know this will be helpful knowledge to have in the future. However—It was only published 3 years ago, but bits of it feel outdated already, as the author acknowledges in the last chapter. I’m sure a lot of the medical and psychological info has changed or developed further. And the deadnaming and referencing people by incorrect pronouns in particular felt outdated and problematic, so I would have liked to see a statement about exactly why she was telling stories in this way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    A volte l'autrice è veramente troppo enfatica e può essere imbarazzante, ma va bene per il target (cioè i genitori dei bambini con varianza di genere). Oltre a questo ci sono elementi molto utili per valutare l'opportunità dei bloccanti della pubertà, somministrazioni di ormoni prima dei 18 anni e addirittura interventi chirurgici definitivi in età di sviluppo. Viene anche affrontato molto chiaramente il rischio di suicidio dei bambini e ragazzi con una forte disforia. A volte l'autrice è veramente troppo enfatica e può essere imbarazzante, ma va bene per il target (cioè i genitori dei bambini con varianza di genere). Oltre a questo ci sono elementi molto utili per valutare l'opportunità dei bloccanti della pubertà, somministrazioni di ormoni prima dei 18 anni e addirittura interventi chirurgici definitivi in età di sviluppo. Viene anche affrontato molto chiaramente il rischio di suicidio dei bambini e ragazzi con una forte disforia.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    What a wealth of information, research, and level-headed advice. It's easy to read, but not without depth and nuance. I would recommend this for any family with a gender creative child, or just children, period. It's not a book that would have made sense ten years ago, but as she says, the bedrock of a gendered society is changing, and it makes a lot of sense for our times. What a wealth of information, research, and level-headed advice. It's easy to read, but not without depth and nuance. I would recommend this for any family with a gender creative child, or just children, period. It's not a book that would have made sense ten years ago, but as she says, the bedrock of a gendered society is changing, and it makes a lot of sense for our times.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Davidson

    This book is filled with stories of the journeys of children and their parents (properly honored at the beginning of the Acknowledgements section of the book) which provide vivid examples of how the world is not black and white, but color. The author also captures different perspectives on matters related to the overall topic, and then shares her opinion on the matter based on her experience. There are two things that would make the book stronger than it already is: 1) stories from those that do This book is filled with stories of the journeys of children and their parents (properly honored at the beginning of the Acknowledgements section of the book) which provide vivid examples of how the world is not black and white, but color. The author also captures different perspectives on matters related to the overall topic, and then shares her opinion on the matter based on her experience. There are two things that would make the book stronger than it already is: 1) stories from those that don't have the realization out of the box but come to it later in life (e.g., during puberty) and 2) more stories from those in her "fruit salad" category.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    note: added after assignment submission!

  20. 5 out of 5

    KJ Workman

    Excellent information about gender creative children. Very interesting and certainly taught me a great deal.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Avenant

    Every parent should read this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Gender Creative Child by Diane Ehrensaft is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early March. Being highly interested in the concept and lifestyle of gender fluidity, I looked forward to learning about the study of this taking place from birth and early childhood. Ehrensaft creates dynamic, 'take from them as you may' chapters out of personal stories, observations, social critique, medical studies, and self-proclaimed criteria (i.e. the concept of apples, oranges, and fruit salad). They each The Gender Creative Child by Diane Ehrensaft is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early March. Being highly interested in the concept and lifestyle of gender fluidity, I looked forward to learning about the study of this taking place from birth and early childhood. Ehrensaft creates dynamic, 'take from them as you may' chapters out of personal stories, observations, social critique, medical studies, and self-proclaimed criteria (i.e. the concept of apples, oranges, and fruit salad). They each and altogether are a little overwhelming, considering that, at the center of each personal story, is a child or teenager educating their peer on how their view of gender (or lack thereof) is.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Skylar

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robin A Knepp

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elliot Clement

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate

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