Elijah C. Nealy, PhD, MDiv, LCSW, is assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and Latino Community Practice at the University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. As an out transgender man, he has spent the past twenty-five years working extensively within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Elijah Nealy's book is an incredibly complete and empathic guide to supporting gender expansive youth, their families and communities. While remaining accessible, it embraces the complexities of gender diversity, intersectionality and the role of caregivers and professionals in their lives. You will finish this book feeling equipped to be a better ally, and probably a better person.--Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT, Director, Gender and Family Project, Ackerman Institute for the Family [A] comprehensive and compassionate narrative that will prove useful for anyone seeking to better understand and support transgender youth. . . . Nealy focuses not only on coming out as transgender but also on building and living a life as a happy transgender individual. In writing his book, Nealy has accomplished a huge and valuable feat that will serve to foster the healthy development of transgender and gender non-conforming youth, the acceptance and well-being of families, and the ability of therapists to improve their skills with youth and families. There is much to be gained from a work such as this. It fundamentally humanises a population that has been long been pathologised. It presents a stark image of the damage that can be done to young transgendered individuals. More importantly, it stands as a positive framework to nurture young people and celebrate diversity in all its forms. Elijah Nealy, a therapist and clergyperson with substantial experience working with transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth, has written a very valuable book for therapists, medical clinicians, and families. This book will serve as an essential reference to assist in better care of TGNC youth, and for families to learn more and come to accept and support their TGNC children. Dr. Nealy writes about this often confusing and controversial area in a clear, lucid style, discussing the meanings of gender variations and the uses and misuses of gender identity diagnoses, providing a helpful review of the diagnostic process and caveats involved. The very helpful vignettes he presents bring to life the various topics with insightful suggestions and practical examples - even a top 10 list! I will be recommending Dr. Nealy's contribution to my trainees, families, and colleagues.--Richard R. Pleak, MD, Founding Member, Center for Transgender Health, Northwell Health Here's the book that caregivers and family members of transgender children have been waiting for. With equal measures sound scientific reasoning and genuine human compassion, Elijah Nealy provides a thoughtful roadmap for anyone trying to support our precious--and endangered--trans youth. An invaluable resource.--Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There and Long Black Veil Elijah Nealy has presented very complex issues in an incredibly clear and accessible manner. In order to really understand transgender adults coming into treatment it will help immensely if we understand the experiences of transgender youth. Many of the principles and guidelines presented are relevant to working with transgender-identified individuals of any age. . . . [I]ncredibly illuminating, even for the most experienced counselor. [A]n accessible, meticulously explained and supported introduction to the particular issues trans children and teenagers face, and how best to address them. . . . Nealy illustrates repeatedly through Transgender Children and Youth that acceptance can be fostered, schools held accountable and progress made. In this age of ever-expanding gender creativity, every mental professional working with children and families will inevitably meet up with a transgender youth. Elijah Nealy has given us the gift of an extraordinary comprehensive, insightful, and empathic book to guide us in their care and ensure gender health for the children, families, and surrounding social world. A must read for anyone who will have a transgender child in their life.--Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., author of Gender Born, Gender Made and The Gender Creative Child, Director of Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Gender Center, UC San Francisco Nealy's writing is both profound and personal, offering readers an enormous amount of solid information along with deep insights and suggestions that everyone in our society needs to challenge our traditional oversimplified, bifurcated understanding of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Nealy draws you in with clear and honest personal exploration of the clinical dilemmas in working with children, their families and the systems in which they are embedded.--Monica McGoldrick, MSW, PhD (h.c.), Director, Multicultural Family Institute Transgender Children and Youth is as much an educational book as it is a book that advocates for the rights of transgender youth to grow up to be the person that they have dreamed about, want to be, or always viewed themselves as. . . The book is a valuable resource not only for mental health professionals, but also for families with transgender children. With Nealy taking his time to explain the issues facing transgender youth, the book is truly accessible to any reader, no matter their level of interaction with, or understanding of transgender youth. Transgender Children and Youth creates space for families to gain a deeper understanding of gender diversity and provides tools to best support and affirm living authentically with unconditional love. Although every family's journey is unique, this resource remains relevant at every stage of transition, lending honest, compassionate, and empowering insight into questions, challenges, and celebrations parents of transgender and gender-variant children experience. --Michelle Honda-Phillips, Parent Advocate, Transgender & Gender-Expansive Youth