The Advocate Magazine 2023 Number 46, Issue 3 | Page 19

seek out appropriate gender-affirming physical and mental health care has increased , leading to children affirming an authentic gender identity sooner ; with less time being socialized toward the “ wrong ” gender roles ( meaning a gender role that differs from the client ’ s identified gender role ).
For children who are supported in gender exploration by affirming their identity socially , the length of time of inaccurate sex-typing will not impair how they will later identify and express their gender identity . For those who have not been provided the opportunity to freely express and explore gender , Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors ( LCMHCs ) must consider :
• The length of time their client was socialized in the “ wrong ” gender role ,
• The messages , or redirections , they received when they engaged in “ misaligned ” behaviors , characteristics , and / or roles , and
• Their view of self or negative selftalk about the misalignment of their authentic gender identity and sex assigned at birth .
Three Client Case Examples
If you are not working with gender-diverse clients , it can be difficult to picture how gender-role socialization can negatively impact an individual . Here are some examples of how these themes come up in my work . The differences displayed social norms local polical governments media
Bronfenbrenner ’ s Ecological Systems Theory
align with the considerations of the length of time one has lived with incongruent gender-role expectations within their culture and environment . ( Note that identifying information has been changed to protect clients .)
— Xander — 12 years old trans-masculine
school economic parents / culture friends family extended
The client has been observed bending gender expectations in terms of dressing — wearing a flowery blouse to session . When asked about his shirt choice , he noted that he really liked how it looked and fit . He did not present any challenges with wearing more feminine attire , though he indicated that he wouldn ’ t wear it in front of his dad because it would create a difficult situation where his dad would question his true self as a transmasculine individual .
With support , Xander is able to be fluid in his presentation in safe spaces , though he is mindful that others may interpret his more feminine attire as ambiguity about his gender identity .
— Tatum — 15 years old nonbinary
They grew up in the Mormon faith and report religious trauma , especially around prescribed gender roles , in their early development . The client reports that once the family left the church , many family members were able to align with their authentic selves . Their parents divorced as they were able to express their queer sexual identities , and Tatum has one sibling who identifies as transgender .
While much of the therapeutic work
His parents are divorced , and they do not agree on steps to affirm their child ’ s masculine gender identity . His mother is supportive and has initiated genderaffirming care from the time he came out as transgender ; his father questions his choice to affirm his authentic identity and is resistant to using correct pronouns and name and typically is combative / rigid during medical appointments or any
was focused on resolving some of the religious trauma , time was also spent on unlearning the tenets of the faith regarding sex-based gender roles within the new nonreligious community . Tatum presents as more gender-creative in social settings .
When asked about this , the client noted that they appreciate confusing others as they will be better able to determine who is genuine in their interactions with them .
time the topic comes up .
continued on page 10
system mass systems family GRAPHIC Adapted from : SimplyPsychology . org
The Advocate Magazine 2023 , Issue # 3 American Mental Health Counselors Association ( AMHCA ) ww . amhca . org 99