Gender Is not a "Reveal," It is a Journey
Our tradition locations a excessive worth on gender “reveals,” the place dad and mom announce that they’ve “discovered” what their youngster’s gender is. However, not so quick! Gender is far more difficult than that, and an individual isn’t outlined by their reproductive anatomy and even their X or Y chromosomes! That is one thing that we as dad and mom want to grasp, and assist our youngsters perceive.
The way you speak to your youngster about gender issues. You have got a possibility to assist them keep open-minded and accepting of different folks’s genders…and comfy with their very own.
Gender Roles and Gender Expression
Youngsters begin studying gender roles at a really younger age. By the point they’re two years previous, most have realized what women and men are “imagined to” look and act like. By age 5 - 6, most have very inflexible concepts about gender — although they will turn out to be extra versatile afterward.
So your youngster could ask questions like, “Why is that man carrying a gown?”, “Is it okay if I play with a hearth truck though it’s a boy’s toy?”, or “Why are you carrying earrings? Are you a woman?”. Or you might even see youngsters pressuring one another to evolve to gender norms.
However all these guidelines about what we’re imagined to put on, how we’re imagined to act, and what we’re imagined to do — they’re utterly made up! And so they’re very limiting. It’s vital to let your youngster know that if somebody’s habits or look doesn’t match conventional gender norms, that individual isn’t unsuitable for being completely different. It’s actually okay.
And in case your youngster needs to attempt carrying completely different garments, or enjoying with completely different toys…allow them to. It doesn’t imply they’ll develop as much as be LGBTQ+. Perhaps they only wish to attempt various things!
Historically our tradition has understood folks as being “born” male or feminine, or being “biologically” male or feminine, as if this was some form of common, goal reality. Nevertheless it’s not (hold studying). And in reality, many alternative cultures throughout historical past have acknowledged the existence of greater than two genders.
So now we discuss what gender somebody was “assigned at start,” i.e., whether or not their dad and mom and hospital employees labeled them as feminine or male.
Trans folks have a gender identification that doesn’t match the gender they had been assigned at start. Perhaps they had been labeled “male” primarily based on their anatomy however they really feel that they’re really feminine, or vice versa.
Some folks really feel male generally and feminine at different instances, or they really feel like each on the identical time, or neither. We name this being “nonbinary” or “NB.” Nonbinary folks usually ask others to discuss with them utilizing gender-neutral pronouns like “they” and “them.”
And by the best way, ”they” and “them” have been used as singular pronouns for hundreds of years…so grammatically, it’s completely acceptable regardless of what you will have been taught in grade college.
Intersex folks have exterior or inside intercourse organs that don’t match into standard male/feminine classes — like having each ovaries and testes. Or they might have a distinct mixture of chromosomes, like XXY, as an alternative of the everyday XY (male) or XX (feminine). (For a tremendous, mind-blowing, and informative perspective on this, watch Emily Quinn’s Ted Speak.)
Whereas it was as soon as thought of essential to surgically “appropriate” intersex folks’s anatomical variations, right this moment many are selecting to embrace and have a good time their uniqueness.
Everytime you imagine your youngster is able to perceive that individuals can have a spread of gender identities, discuss it with them. Assist them be accepting of others — and themselves. And remind them it’s by no means okay to evaluate or tease somebody for being completely different.
Gender Id and Sexuality
There’s no relationship between an individual’s gender identification and their sexuality. Trans, nonbinary, and intersex folks could be drawn to males, girls, or each — similar to cisgender folks. (Many of us now determine as pansexual, that means they're drawn to folks throughout the entire gender spectrum.)
So we shouldn’t make any assumptions about what somebody’s gender identification “means” about their sexuality.
If Your Youngster Comes Out to You
When youngsters notice there’s a mismatch between their assigned-at-birth gender and their gender identification (usually at a really early age), some inform their households instantly. Others could take years to seek out the braveness.
In case your youngster tells you they’re trans — that they don’t really feel aligned with their assigned-at-birth gender — imagine them. They’re not doing it to be the focus. They’re doing it as a result of that’s how they really really feel, they usually really feel it strongly sufficient to let you know. So please settle for that.
Will they all the time really feel that method? Solely time will inform. However that’s how they really feel proper now.
It’s okay to ask them questions like, “What made you notice this about your self?”, “How lengthy have you ever recognized?”, or “How would you want to precise this in your life?”. However please ask these questions from a place of believing, loving, and accepting your youngster, simply the best way they're — reasonably than attempting to vary their thoughts.
Rejecting your youngster’s gender identification could be very harmful. Trans youngsters are more likely than cisgender youngsters to expertise melancholy and commit suicide. Respecting and affirming their gender identification is more likely to assist them develop up blissful, wholesome, and complete.