PFLAG of Bergen County, New Jersey

Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies United with LGBTQ People To Move Equality Forward

Meetings are the third Wednesday of every month.
Click here for meeting details

Transgender Support

Our NJ Transgender Support Group

Wendy has been appointed to the Board of Bergen County PFLAG as the Transgender Advocate. She runs the support group for Transgender individuals, their parents, families, and friends. Wendy is the proud parent of a Transgender child and is filled with a passion for sharing the wisdom and insight that her life’s journey has delivered to her. Over the past few years, she has helped hundreds of Transgender people and their families.

The Transgender support group meets during the regular PFLAG meeting nights (3rd Wed. of the month) at Temple Beth Or, beginning at 7:30 pm. For details, or if you have any questions, or if you would like to speak privately, please contact Wendy at wschwa@optonline.net. You can also use our contact form here


Quick Resources

Please contact Wendy for any questions or for more resources.

For children under 18 and their parents:

General Resources:

 


What does transgender mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person.

What is the difference between sex and gender?

Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

Various conditions that lead to atypical development of physical sex characteristics are collectively referred to as intersex conditions. For information about people with intersex conditions (also known as disorders of sex development), see APA’s brochure Answers to Your Questions About Individuals With Intersex Conditions (PDF, 1MB).

What is the relationship between gender identity and sexual orientation?

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person, whereas gender identity refers to one’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or asexual, just as nontransgender people can be. Transgender people usually label their sexual orientation using their gender as a reference. For example, a transgender woman, or a person who is assigned male at birth and transitions to female, who is attracted to other women would be identified as a lesbian or gay woman. Likewise, a transgender man, or a person who is assigned female at birth and transitions to male, who is attracted to other men would be identified as a gay man.

What should parents do if their child appears to be transgender or gender nonconforming?

Parents may be concerned about a child who appears to be gender-nonconforming for a variety of reasons. Some children express a great deal of distress about their assigned sex at birth or the gender roles they are expected to follow. Some children experience difficult social interactions with peers and adults because of their gender expression. Parents may become concerned when what they believed to be a “phase” does not pass. Parents of gender-nonconforming children may need to work with schools and other institutions to address their children’s particular needs and ensure their children’s safety. It is helpful to consult with mental health and medical professionals familiar with gender issues in children to decide how to best address these concerns. It is not helpful to force the child to act in a more gender-conforming way. Peer support from other parents of gender-nonconforming children may also be helpful.

Is being transgender a mental disorder?

A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder. For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety, depression or related disorders at higher rates than nontransgender persons.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people who experience intense, persistent gender incongruence can be given the diagnosis of “gender dysphoria.” Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender noncongruence and should be eliminated. Others argue that it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is under revision and there may be changes to its current classification of intense persistent gender incongruence as “gender identity disorder.”

Credit: http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx