Gender variance in childhood is the most widely used expression to indicate the experience of those who do not feel comfortable in the gender assigned socially at birth on the basis of their genital organs, or who do not conform with the social rules usually appropriate to their biological sex. They are children who live their gender differently than in social norms, expressing behaviors considered most appropriate for the opposite gender. To give some examples, gender variant children (or transgender, trans , gender-creative, -expansive, -independent, -fluid, etc.) are those boys who, from an early age, prefer toys and clothes considered more suitable for little girls, like dolls, tricks, skirts, crowns, glitter etc. Or those little girls who identify themselves, for example, with superheroes, and prefer activities and games generally performed by males and who refuse to dress with items considered typically feminine.
For some of these children variance concerns only their gender expression, that is the way in which one expresses feelings through behaviors and preferences that are considered appropriate for one gender and not for another. For many, on the other hand, however, gender identity is a little more complex and concerns the intimate process that allows us to identify ourselves with the socially available categories of the gender. Some gender variant children can identify themselves, with more or less persistence, with the opposite gender , as well as with neither gender, others still with both genders, in a stable or fluid way.
This situation can often generate concern and a real suffering for parents who, in the absence of information or people who can offer support, end up living this experience alone, continuously asking themselves where they went wrong. But it should be made clear that gender variance is not caused by an error in the way parents have raised their children or by an excessively permissive behavior, and it is rarely associated with a traumatic event. In most cases, the behaviors of these children are to be considered simply as the natural expression of human diversity, which should therefore be accepted as a resource and not as a problem.