If your child seems confused about their gender, it’s usual for parents to feel puzzled or worried. But there is help available to support you and your child.
It’s not unusual for children to show an interest in clothes or toys that society tells us are more often associated with the opposite gender.
With toy stores dedicating whole floors to colour-coded boys’ or girls’ toys, as just one example, it’s not surprising that parents may expect a child to closely match traditional expectations of how male and female genders should behave.
Your child is Non-Binary or Transgender
Of course, not everyone fits traditional gender stereotypes. Sometimes a child who seems confused about their gender may be transgender, sometimes they will be gender non-conforming. Both terms mean that a child feels their sense of gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the typical expectations of “girl” or “boy” behaviour.
For others, it means their gender identity is neither a girl nor a boy. These children may want to be commonly referred to as “they”, or have a name that doesn’t identify them as either a boy or a girl.
Oppression and extremism
Being a child who doesn’t fit our society’s rules about gender can be extremely difficult.
Many people may have difficulty with the concept of a boy who behaves or dresses in what’s considered typically more feminine ways. These people have been subject to different kinds of oppression due to deeply ingrained societal stigma against trans identities.
While people in touch with their own feelings may choose to accept the child as they are, others are likely to be shocked, confused, or feel a degree of horror. Some people will be offended, angry, and possibly even unkind, preferring to believe that a trans child is simply confused.
This in turn can lead to a culture of bullying, and in extreme situations, violence and self-harm.
Because of this, it is important to support your child and let them know that you won’t judge them, because to you, they are perfect just the way they are. Saying this if you don’t mean it can cause some of the worst possible damage to a confused child.
Some children, especially those experiencing difficulty with their gender identity, may begin to access the internet and form online communities with others who are also questioning their gender identity. However, it is important to remember that these communities usually have moderators and rules to prevent name calling and other undesirable behaviour. It is important that you be aware of this, and that you are able to spot if your child stays in a group that is intolerant of other people’s gender identities.
Coming out as transgender
Reacting to a child’s changing identity is always a challenge to parents, and coming out as transgender can be especially trying. Many parents worry about how the change will affect family relationships, social life, education and finances.
Most of these issues can be worked through, but there are some ways that the most pressure can be reduced.
Firstly, a supportive family helps a lot – at the very least, don’t think of it are a negative situation. If you love your child and want them to have as much happiness as possible, you’ll accept and support them.
Secondly, try to keep your child’s decision to come out secret from as many people as possible. Your child deserves respect and privacy, and you’ll have to find ways to deal with those who are disrespectful and rude if they find out.
Thirdly, there will be pressure on your child, especially if you live in a small community. Imagine what you feel like if people are staring at you in the street. Now imagine how the person in the street feels who is also wishing they could be someone else. Your child needs your support to feel safe, and to do this, you need to keep them safe from those who will make fun of them for being transgender.
Be ready to explain your reasons for moving away from family and friends. They may ask you why you, who love your child, would choose to cut people out of your life just because your child has decided to come out as transgender. Remember that you have always liked and loved your child and that even though they are being true to themselves, you are not going against your values to do so. You are simply including them in your family.
If your child is being bullied at school, there are other options. They may wish to try a different school. If they are very unhappy they may wish to have a social change.
Whatever your decision is, make sure you support your child through their transition, whether they choose to come out as trans and change their bodies, or whether they choose to express their gender identity in other ways, neither of these options are ‘wrong.’
All children deserve love and support
However, you don’t have to have a transgender child to understand the issues. If your child dresses in non-traditional gender appropriate clothes, identifies as the opposite gender, is uncomfortable they were assigned at birth, is questioning their identity and/or is transgender, they may be experiencing what amounts to oppression, and they are not alone.
Every child deserves love, support and understanding. Schools, community leaders, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents need to support a child’s right to live the life they want to live. And all parents should learn how to respond to gender issues so that if you have a child who comes out, you can be the great champion for them that they need.
But to do that, you need to know what to do, and how to do it. You need to know that your child is okay. So, you need to educate yourself on the issues and the options. You need to know about your child’s feelings, what you can do, and what you can’t.
Fortunately, there’s a great place to start, and it’s called the Resource Centre for Educators.
A resource centre for educators is a place where you go to find the information you need to teach students about issues such as gender identity and gender expression. It’s a place where you can see what other parents and teachers have done to support a transgender child, so you can do it too. It’s a place that gives you ideas on how to support your child, and it’s a place where you know that you will be accepted for who you are.
Please remember that this is a resource centre for trans educators only. So, if you are here because your love the topic, that’s great. If you are here because your are trying to decide if you should love your child, or hate them, please do not try to join. Instead, go to your local library, or use the internet to find facts and figures on both sides of the issue. You can learn what schools have done, and what legal precedents have been set.
But if you have truly decided to love and support your child, if you truly want to let them live in the gender they identify with, and if you are ready to let them know you have their support, and that they have your support, you are welcome here.
You’re welcome here to get the information you need to learn how to support your child.
You’re welcome here to learn about how to be a trans educator, and where to buy the trans education materials you need.
This will be a place where you can talk openly about your child, and not feel responsible for the legislation around your child’s rights
This product was recommended by Willie Greer from The Product Analyst
This book covers many things: gender, anatomy, and inclusivity. Through this book, we were able to lightly teach our children about the diversity of people, their bodies, and how each person in different. All these topics can be quite complicated to discuss, but this book was able to explain them simply with illustrations and colors, which also kept the attention of our kids.
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Annie’s Plaid Shirt will inspire readers to be themselves and will touch the hearts of those who love them.
This product was recommended by Anzhela Vonarkh from TheWordPoint
Aimed at non-binary toddlers who are confused about remaining true to one’s inner self and identity will love this beautiful and insightful story. It is also a great picture book that will appeal to the younger audience without being overly complex or even more confusing. The book avoids getting technical about being transgender and follows a different route by focusing on a story of crayons that come with a label. Telling about the red crayon that comes with a red sticker from the factory, the book explains how a label is only a label. Written in an emotional language, the book speaks of being different and seeking acceptance. Unlike similar books that cover this topic, it has a non-binary, gender-neutral story, acting as a great introduction to what it means to be a different child.
This product was recommended by Stacie May from Lucky Watcher
This book is about a boy who loves to wear dresses. Unfortunately, he gets made fun of at school. However, he luckily has a great friend named Emily who is always there to support and defend him. This book shows the importance of friendship and how there’s many ways to be a boy.