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PJ, the boy's initials because his parents want to protect his privacy, may never go on to identify as transgender. For four days in the summer, he joins other boys, some as young as 3, at a camp where they can express themselves as girls through high heels, make-up and lots of girly colors.
As boys like PJ, who seem to at first just experiment with being girls, get older, "it a little more complicated," said Snyder.
The camp, begun by parents, is so informal that it moves from one part of the country to another, depending on where parents can rent space from retreat centers. The families that come are from all walks of life and some "really do struggle with acceptance at so many levels," Snyder said. The camp grew out of a listserv at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. For the last three years, New York photographer Lindsay Morris has captured the children in images of their self-expression.
Morris calls the camp, "You Are You," out of respect for families and their children and does not reveal where the images were taken. Gender nonconforming or gender variant are terms for people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as "feminine" boys, "masculine" girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous.
Jack Halberstam, professor of American and gender studies at University of Southern California, said society is as hard on girls who are gender variant as boys.
Fewer than 700,000 Americans identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law School, which researches issues that affect people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.


Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality said that a camp like "You Are You" cannot push a child's gender identification in one direction or the other. Identical twins Wyatt and Jonas Maines share the same DNA, but their gender identification took divergent paths. The majority of all children who express the belief that they are the wrong gender will enter puberty and go on to identify with their biological gender, according to endocrinologist Dr. Sloan, who is gay, said, "If I could have known as a little kid there was a camp where little kids were gay and struggling with the same thing, it would have made such a difference.
So far, some of the camp's alumni, when they reached puberty, went on hormone blockers to begin transition from boy to girl. Snyder said a psychologist who is treating his son has advised the parents to allow the boy to freely express himself. The Snyders said they are open-minded and live in a diverse neighborhood where their three children play with children of same-sex couples. 20121 Kings 8:28 -- But please listen to my prayer and my request, because I am your servant. But it wasn't until he started first grade, when the little boy drew a picture of himself in long hair and a dress, that he parents realized they had to be more proactive in dealing with his gender nonconformity. Here, these gender nonconforming children are given an opportunity to be free of judgment and able to express themselves creatively, perhaps openly, for the first time.
She hopes to publish a book next year and would like to use any profits to jump start a foundation to support the camp.


This includes people who identify outside traditional gender categories or identify as both genders. Born female but identifying as male, he said "60 to 70 percent of my life," he was mistaken as a boy. Some specialists estimate that 1 in 500 children is significantly gender nonconforming or transgender, according to the education and advocacy group Gender Spectrum. As early as age 4, Wyatt asked his mother, "When do I get to be a girl?" And he told his father he hated his penis.
Wyatt is now Nicole, undergoing transition with hormone treatment at Gender Management Service at Children's Hospital in Boston.
Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House, which provides some of the nation's most comprehensive services for transgender people, said gender variant children need encouragement and support. But PJ's parents also consulted a psychiatrist this year because of some social and behavioral issues. An older study based on statistics of postoperative transgender men put the number at 1 in 20,000.



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