Jen Whitlock didn't know much about transgender individuals in her youth, but she did read the first issue of Ms. Magazine (it's in her waiting room) at the tender age of 12, and she never accepted gender norms as gospel. In her twenties, she shaved only one arm pit and sported what she thought of as a masculine/feminine haircut, which she now sheepishly recognizes as a "mullet." Sometimes people thought she was a man dressed up as a woman, and it didn't much bother her because "Why would that matter anyway?"
Back in 1995, Jennifer Whitlock conducted a two-semester research project on "crossdressers" at Kutztown University. While most of the journal articles she found at the time gave a distorted and incomplete picture of what the full spectrum of gender expression, she discovered a different story in the heartfelt letters the respondents sent her.
Ten years later, Jen rebooted her interest in gender roles when she discovered that a family member assigned male at birth identified as female. As she learned more, she resolved to share this information with other families struggling with this issue.
Dr. Lisa O'Connor, a hormone doctor who founded Healthy Transitions, acted as a mentor, assigning books to read and consulting on cases. Jen continued learning from the Philadelphia TransHealth Conference, Gender Conference East, Garden State Equality and from her clients. As she gained expertise, she shared it in workshops at conferences and schools.
Click for a list of doctors in North Jersey area and nearby Pennsylvania and New York who prescribe hormones to transgender individuals.
The Institute for Personal Growth, which has locations in Jersey City, Highland Park and Freehold, NJ, posts a comprehensive Transgender Resource Guide which lists 60 pages of resources, including Advocacy, Crossgender supplies, Electrolysis, Legal Services, Support Groups, and Vocal Coaching.
is a social and educational group for gender-fluid/gender-creative and transgender youth and their parents. The group offers a safe space for gender-fluid children and teens to be completely themselves and for parents to share their challenges, joys and questions. This project is fully funded by North Jersey Pride.
Transgender Family Support group in Somerville. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and The Pride Center of New Jersey have launched this group to help spouses, partners and adult children better understand, accept and cope with their transgender family members.
The Philadelphia Trans-Wellness Conference offers workshops and networking events for transgender individuals and their allies, families, and providers for free. This year the conference will take place August 2 to 4, 2018.
The Gender Conference East offers a safe space for children and youth across the gender spectrum, as well as their families and the professionals working with them. While parents go to workshops, kids can do creative play activities that allow them to express their gender.
The Standards of Caredescribes the criteria doctors generally require patients to meet in order to be considered for Hormone Replacement Therapy or Sex Reassignment Surgery.
Parents of transgender children should be advised that today's recommendations on how to treat gender variant children are different than the recommendations made in the 1970s. Despite the Free to Be You and Me program, parents were told to allow their children only "gender appropriate toys, dress and activities." This practice is now considered to be harmful. Margie Nichols, Ph.D. explains the change in approaches in this essay.
The Family Acceptance Program offers on-line brochures describing how families can help support their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children. These family education booklets have been designated as a “Best Practice” resource for suicide prevention for LGBT people by the national Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.
Schools in Transition brochures, developed by The National Education Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, Gender Spectrum and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, outline the best practices in supporting Transgender Students in School.
Copyright 2018 by Jennifer Whitlock, 93 Main Street, Newton, NJ 07860; Jen@JenWhitlock.com; 973-222-3750