Gender Identity Disorder is all to often thought of by society as a condition synonymous with adulthood. Perhaps in the same way Autism and ADHD are generally associated with childhood. But just as there are functioning adult autistics, there are child transsexuals, who in order to become functioning adults, should have access to a more thorough, comprehensive care. The implications on both Transgendered individuals and on society are and will continue to be profound if more young people are left to 'slip through the net'.
Though in Britain today we are largely free from the Victorian ideal that children should 'be seen but not heard' there are still a worrying number of cases of young people who are not heard or supported in their search for their true identity until they reach, at the earliest, their mid to late teens. Unfortunately, in some cases, by the time help and support is attained for said young people, their confidence is already in tatters and other mental health concerns commonly associated with Gender Identity Disorder e.g depression and anxiety, have already taken hold in a life altering way.
In my research into the subject of Gender Identity Disorder in children and young people, all too many responses on living with GID began with an introduction largely centered around spending years feeling alone, confused and angry, waiting for somebody to listen and ultimately, to help. Confusion in adolescents regarding Gender Identity often results in some form of bullying, whether emotional, physical or both. As a result of this, many young GID sufferers receive a limited or nonexistent education through fear of retribution from their peers at school. This intern creates huge difficulties for some GID sufferers when trying to access further education and employment. These additional and frankly unnecessary barriers young people have to break down in the early years of their lives, are placing an enormous strain on young GID sufferers.
The time has surely come for new or revised government policies on the treatment of transsexual and transgendered children in mainstream, compulsory education as too many are being failed by the current system, going without the education that is, after all, their civil right and our civil duty to protect.
In Part Two of this paper we will be exploring both the current triumphs and inadequacies of the policies and guidelines that are currently in place to support and protect young people with Gender Identity Disorder with particular emphasis on education and social inclusion.