Children are born into a world based on social norms, including gendered structures that impact every aspect of their lives. Some children don't fit into these molds – they are gender nonconforming children. These children are the target of harsh social sanctions and are having trouble being themselves, which can lead to mental distress at the individual level and other damages at the social level. Some parents of gender nonconforming children don't know how to react to their children's unconventional choices and are anxious about the social price they may pay. They suffer from an internal conflict: whether to encourage their children to follow their hearts or to be like everyone else. This results in giving children messages that suppress their desire to be who they are. These parents need tools through which they could enable their children to be themselves. The research response to this need is DiverCities - a network of local leisure centers for children and parents, which will encourage children to be themselves and support their parents in adjacent areas. During the day, DiverCities centers will provide local educational staff with gender-aware training.
DiverCities centers will be located within existing community centers, and will welcome everyone, without labeling, since the desire to be who I am is a universal human desire.