Questions for ‘Identifying as a different gender’

Doctors and counselors are finding that transgender children can thrive when their families and communities accept them for who they are.

Gender Spectrum (used with permission)

To accompany feature “Identifying as a different gender”


Before reading:

1.    Name, facial features, body type, clothing: How do you determine someone’s gender when meeting that person for the first time?

2.    Create two lists. In one, give examples of clothing typically worn only by women. For the second, list clothing typically worn only by men. Do these rules hold true in cultures around the world that are different from yours? How about during earlier periods of history — perhaps 50 to 150 years ago?

During reading:

1.    On what basis is a child typically determined to be male or female?

2.    What does “dysphoria” mean?

3.    What effect does acceptance or rejection have on quality-of-life issues for transgender youth?

4.    Do gender-nonconforming and transgender mean the same thing?

5.    When does puberty typically occur?

6.    What concerns have some people raised about children transitioning at too young an age?

7.    Explain what histrelin does to the body.

8.    List some of the physical changes linked to testosterone.

9.    What effect do “cross-hormones” have?

10.  If a boy likes something that girls commonly like, such as Hello Kitty, is he necessarily transgender? Explain why or why not, based on what you learned from the story?

After reading:

1.    Provide examples from this story of how rejection by family, friends and others can worsen the quality of life for transgender youth.

2.    Clothes play such an important role in a person’s gender identity. Explain why.


1.    Bruce Jenner recently transitioned to a woman. If he had done that as a teen, he would not have qualified for the decathlon, an Olympic event he won. Why are most Olympic events segregated by sex? In which events during this or other athletic competitions might transgender entrants have a potential advantage — or disadvantage — and why? Are there ways that athletic competitions might be changed to level the playing field? Would doing this still disadvantage some entrants? Explain your answers.