Our society operates on the principle that there are men and women, and nothing in between. These gender identities are assigned at birth, and we’re expected to “live up to them” all our lives.
For previous generations of transgender and gender-variant individuals, this has meant a life of secrecy, pain, and closeting — a life spent policing one’s self and feeling abnormal.
The growing visibility of transgender 6-year-olds, however, is disrupting this dynamic and causing an evolution of thought, as cisgender people — men and women who identify with their assigned gender — recognize that they are not “normal,” as previously thought, but rather, members of a majority group.
This evolution will likely continue, as recent prevelance studies suggest that one in 10 children are gender-nonconforming, and one in 100 children are transgender. This means that one in 10 young people may not feel a need or inclination to live up to their assigned gender, and one of every 100 6-year-olds in our schools is like Coy Mathis.
Through their honesty and bravery, these children are introducing new ideas to us about gender identity. They’re not trying to, though. They’re just being themselves in a world that is too often failing to believe and accept them.