The Gratifying Challenges of Mothering a Trans Child

parent-child

(Photo: Petras Gagilas / Flickr)

Mothering, like aging, is not for the faint of heart. As author Jennifer Senior said of parenting, it is often all joy and no fun. Sometimes very little joy as well. Sometimes there’s a whole lot of fear. But nurturing a human being from birth to adulthood is also one of the most deeply gratifying and mysteriously wonderful processes that a human being can participate in.

Every child presents its parent or parents with unexpected talents and challenges. The challenges that are the most difficult can test us beyond the limits we ever imagined our fortitude could take us. Yet, especially as mothers, we have no choice but to put that innate motherly love and strength on a course of steroids that makes us equal to the task.

I never imagined I would give birth to a child whose brain was formed, in utero, to the female end of the gender spectrum, but whose reproductive organs were what we characterize as male. I didn’t even know that happens. But it turns out that it does—a lot. My child was born transgender.

Mothering a transgender child who was born in 2000, several years before there was any public understanding of the natural process of what makes a baby transgender, was one of those mountains most mothers hope they don’t have to climb. They want their children to have an easy path. Confusion abounded about why my little “boy” insisted “he” was a girl, why he made dresses out of blankets, napkins, shirts; why he turned his trucks into dolls and nursed them; why all his little preschool and elementary school friends were girls.

But mothers don’t have the luxury of staying confused. Mothers get educated. Mothers fiercely protect. Mothers fight. Mothers nurture. Mothers love. Mothers make sure their children live.

Read the full article on VICE.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/_QelBVtZ8lo/

My Autistic Child Isn’t ‘Diseased’

autism-child

(Photo: Zahraa Saleh / Shutterstock)

Finding out that your child is autistic is usually presented as a disaster, a financial and emotional drain that needs a long period of grief to come to terms with.

And with one in every 68 children — one for every three classes of primary school kids — receiving this diagnosis, it’s common to hear talk of an autism “epidemic.”

As a proud parent of an autistic child, I’ve learned that it’s unhelpful to think about it this way.

Autism is notoriously difficult to summarize. There’s a common expression that “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Each one has their own way of thinking about the world. Instead of thinking in language, some autistic people think in pictures, or through more abstract feelings.

Autistic people are often over- or under-responsive to sensory information. For example, my son loves hugs — and taught himself how to somersault at the age some kids can hardly walk. Other autistic children find physical contact almost painful (but are no less loving for that) and can be physically clumsy.

These aren’t signs of a “disease” so much as they’re natural variations in how people are. Talk of an “epidemic” has fostered junk science, like the discredited theory repeated by President Trump that vaccinations cause autism.

Epidemic talk creates a harmful stigma and gets people pouring money into a search for a “cure.” But we’d be far better off investing our energies in creating a friendlier, more respectful environment for autistic people.

That investment would help parents too, since the biggest challenges in raising autistic kids result from a lack of adequate services.

Some people get it.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — which came about as a result of civil rights struggles by disabled people — helps millions of autistic children receive support in schools. (It can continue to do so now that the Supreme Court struck down a judgment by Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch that could’ve severely limited these services.)

The Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare — also helps thousands of people receive essential health benefits like autism services, and the demise of the proposed GOP replacement has helped to secure those for now.

Representations of autism are slowly improving, too. For example, Sesame Street just created an autistic character called Julia who flaps her hands when she’s happy and avoids eye contact, like many autistic people do. But she’s one of the very first positive role models for either autistic children or their peers to relate to.

The situation can be even tougher for adults. Essential services tend to fall off a cliff after school age — with little support for everything from home adaptions to training programs. That’s damaging, as autistic people still face routine discrimination in finding jobs and college admissions.

Although a handful of more enlightened employers are starting to realize that autism can be a huge asset in the workplace, a lot remains to be done.

With Autism Awareness Day approaching on April 2, let’s focus on the real challenges that autistic people face: a lack of support and understanding. Let’s listen more to autistic people — and organizations like the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network — to better understand the roadblocks that our society throws in the path of autistic people.

Let’s rename it Autism Acceptance Day, too, and move away from talk of “disasters” and “epidemics.” Instead, we should focus on the positive contributions that autistic people make to our lives and communities.

And to families like mine.

Oscar Reyes is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/vh8zXqhN56I/

Ahead of World Day, two UN agencies launch course to end child labour in agriculture – UN News Centre


UN News Centre
Ahead of World Day, two UN agencies launch course to end child labour in agriculture
UN News Centre
The End Child Labour in Agriculture e-course covers the sectors of crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture. Specifically, it consists of 15 lessons, ranging from about 30 to 65 minutes each, grouped into seven units: introduction to child
FAO, ILO Working To Stamp Out Child Labour In AgricultureLeadership Newspapers

all 16 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHm36hrYGNAW40lRLPJ4ZzgGwQsrw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779127956042&ei=2UlcV-jcN-OWwQHn5YSgDg&url=http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID%3D54166

Lets Discourage Child Labour – SAMAA TV (blog)

Lets Discourage Child Labour
SAMAA TV (blog)
This year world day against Child Labour is being marked on 12 June 2016. This year theme of the day is “End Child Labour in Supply Chain”. According to International Labour Organization (ILO) 168 million children in all over world are involved in

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHllFbv-CVswoJGMV0AFkRJWNUkAA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779130493075&ei=YNpbV-jNPJWJhQGEooWIDQ&url=http://www.samaa.tv/blogs/2016/06/lets-discourage-child-labour/

Multinational Tobacco Giants Exposed for Using Child Labor – Care2.com


Care2.com
Multinational Tobacco Giants Exposed for Using Child Labor
Care2.com
Some of the world's largest cigarette manufacturers and distributors are buying tobacco harvested through the illegal use of child labor in Indonesia. A new report from Human Rights Watch exposes the practice which involves thousands of minors, some as …
Govt neglects child smokers, labor in tobacco industryJakarta Post

all 3 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEC751VJdsyoGCrwFTlFMxL4BOowQ&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779123340234&ei=ymxNV7C3EoeQwAHEox8&url=http://www.care2.com/causes/multinational-tobacco-giants-exposed-for-using-child-labor.html

Your Cigarette Habit Could Be Poisoning Indonesia’s Child Laborers – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
Your Cigarette Habit Could Be Poisoning Indonesia's Child Laborers
Bloomberg
The International Labour Organization estimates that more than 1.5 million Indonesian children work on farms including tobacco, rubber and palm oil plantations. “I interviewed several dozen kids and was shocked by how young they were when they started …

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=ca&usg=AFQjCNEafu8K-Sy–v_lnDjN5GnSntOZlA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779117978726&ei=a-dJV8CpB8TMwAHMvazADg&url=http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-25/still-smoke-your-cigarettes-may-have-poisoned-indonesian-kids

Tobacco Farms Exploit Child Labor in North Carolina – AlterNet

Tobacco Farms Exploit Child Labor in North Carolina
AlterNet
A recent audit commissioned by the tobacco company found that 40 percent of its contractor farms employed under age workers, therefore violating the Federal law on child labor, including 16 percent of minors under the age of 16 were illegally

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFGlzvwarjt2CHPJaJ3y-VuPR1l5g&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779100836362&ei=tOxCV8DJJoWo8AH6_ZLQBg&url=http://www.alternet.org/labor/tobacco-farms-exploit-child-labor-north-carolina

Indonesia tobacco plantations using child labour – Aljazeera.com


Aljazeera.com
Indonesia tobacco plantations using child labour
Aljazeera.com
Some of the world's best known tobacco companies have been accused of turning a blind eye to the exploitation of child labour in Indonesian plantations that serve as their suppliers. The tobacco industry employs about six million Indonesians. The

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNETZQ0V-8Q7FrEv0_XInrCka5UO9g&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779105280239&ei=E0tAV5jpBKm2wQHm37yIDg&url=http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/indonesia-tobacco-industry-child-labourers-160511160307255.html

Indonesia tobacco plantations using child labour – Aljazeera.com


Aljazeera.com
Indonesia tobacco plantations using child labour
Aljazeera.com
Some of the world's best known tobacco companies have been accused of turning a blind eye to the exploitation of child labour in Indonesian plantations that serve as their suppliers. The tobacco industry employs about six million Indonesians. The

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNETZQ0V-8Q7FrEv0_XInrCka5UO9g&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779105280239&ei=PKs9V7DPCorVwQGwooDoAg&url=http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/indonesia-tobacco-industry-child-labourers-160511160307255.html

Tobacco Farms Exploit Child Labor in North Carolina – AlterNet

Tobacco Farms Exploit Child Labor in North Carolina
AlterNet
A recent audit commissioned by the tobacco company found that 40 percent of its contractor farms employed under age workers, therefore violating the Federal law on child labor, including 16 percent of minors under the age of 16 were illegally

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFGlzvwarjt2CHPJaJ3y-VuPR1l5g&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779100836362&ei=Kgs7V5DrIMnOhAGMv5OgBw&url=http://www.alternet.org/labor/tobacco-farms-exploit-child-labor-north-carolina