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Kids Can Know They’re Transgender at 2, Univ. of Calif. Mental Health Director Claims

Gage Cohen
By Gage Cohen | August 14, 2017 | 11:41 AM EDT

Dr. Diane Ehrensaft

In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), University of California, San Francisco Director of Mental Health Diane Ehrensaft, claimed that a two year-old child should be able to determine whether or not he or she is transgender.

“We expect a two year-old to know 'I am boy. I am girl.' So why can't that also apply to transgender children?" said Dr. Ehrensaft in response to a question regarding when children should be allowed to begin transitioning into the other gender.

Ehrensaft is a developmental and clinical psychologist, as well as the author of The Gender Creative Child.

This is not the first instance where Dr. Ehrensaft has advocated allowing young children to determine whether or not they are transgender. She has supported the Rainbow Day Camp in northern California-- a camp for transgender youth kids as young as four may attend. She noted that the camp has experienced a “sea change, maybe we can even call it a tsunami, in the number of little kids showing up with their families."

When asked what it means if a young boy wants to wear dresses, Ehrensaft said it meant parents should buy him dresses:

"What we know is, you have a son who likes princess dresses. I would say, get him the dresses. Have your child feel free to choose.

Maybe, they'll stop wearing dresses. Maybe, they'll grow up to be gay.”

Dr. Ehrensaft suggested ways to determine whether a child is transgender, such as looking at the “use of verbs regarding gender,” frustration concerning his or her own genitals, and “taking ‘gender expansion play’ seriously” (boys wearing dresses, girls playing with trucks, etc.)

Another “gender expert” interviewed was Johanna Olson-Kennedy, the medical director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. She recommended that parents go away for a weekend with your child in order to learn more about his or her gender preference.

"Do it somewhere where you're not going to see people you know, if that's an issue for you. Do a weekend as a different gender, and see what you learn,” said Kennedy. She also suggested allowing the child to “call the shots in terms of their gender” and “letting them use a different pronoun or wear a dress or other clothing of their choice,” according to AP.

"People have said this over and over again: 'Oh, my God. I saw a side of my child I had never seen before.'"


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