Building on Resiliency: Recommendations for Schools on How to Provide Support and Affirmative Care for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Youth Experiencing Trauma
Wilson, Sarah M.
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This paper seeks to identify the kinds of trauma that trans and gender non-conforming youth experience and what schools and school counsellors can do to mitigate the harmful effects of such trauma. With an increase of trauma-informed practice in schools and key developments towards the inclusion and protection of trans and gender non-conforming youth throughout British Columbia it is essential for educators and practitioners to be aware of the risks for this population and be adequately prepared for the support of such vulnerable youth. Key aspects of the literature are the deconstruction of the neurology of trauma and its’ effects on the body, outlining the issues that transgender individuals and youth experience, and subsequently the appraisal and identification of such experiences as trauma, or as causing similar neurological, physical, and emotional effects. Additionally, in the summarization of the literature this paper seeks to define trans-affirmative care for the purpose of determining the practices that have been shown to be most effective in fostering resiliency and supporting the healing of trauma for those within the transgender community. The Minority Stress Model (Meyer, 2003) is used as a theoretical framework for the analysis of the lived experiences of trans and gender non-conforming individuals, and addresses the implications of said experiences on their mental health and overall wellbeing. In addition to outlining the transgender community’s likely vulnerability, the Minority Stress Model is also used as a framework for the identification of the inherent resiliency found therein. Using a strengths-based approach, recommendations for how to support trans and gender non-conforming youth are made by drawing upon the conclusions found in the literature concerning trans youth’s vulnerability and resiliency, proposing a multifaceted and integrative approach.