A NEW children’s book has been launched to help raising awareness around the lives of trans and gender diverse children.
The book, called The Gender Fairy, was presented at St Kilda Primary School in Melbourne and written by the parent of a trans student at the school.
“Many trans children, teenagers, and adults have told me how much easier and happier their lives would have been if they had the language to explain their gender identity to an adult,” she told the Star Observer.
“Having a book like this for transgender children means that they will know they are normal and not alone.
“We need to allow children who are exploring their gender the room to do this in safety and peace.”
The book follows the story of two trans children who are educated and comforted by a fairy which tells them the importance of being true to themselves.
It also highlights issues around gender identity such as gender stereotyping, and how these issues can be overcome through the support of family and friends.
Hirst plans to write a follow up to The Gender Fairy in 2016 that explains the gender spectrum to young children and reassures those who are fluid that they don’t have to choose.
“I hope this will pave the way for more books that portray gender diverse children as normal,” she said.
“The launch was a beautiful experience at a school that embraces diversity and values every child… schools are very supportive these days and that comes from the top.
“Evie McDonald, a 10-year-old girl from the support group I’m a member of spoke about her own experience and how her life would have been easier if she had read this book in prep. She had the whole room in tears.”
The number of transitioning gender diverse children using the Melbourne-based Royal Children’s Hospital gender service has increased dramatically in recent years.
The Victorian Government plans to invest $6 million over the next four years to reduce waiting times at the hospital’s gender clinic.
Equality Minister Martin Foley was also at the launch, stressing the importance of a book of this nature for young school children.
“This book is about affirming trans children’s rights to be who they are, and if that means they’re happy, healthy, and engaged, and that their families are reconciled in support of that, that can only be a good thing,” he said.
“Transgender children should never face any prejudice and they should be celebrated as much as any other child.”
Curtin University recently released Trans Support, a guide that provides information and support to staff and students undergoing gender transition.