What Do You Do When Your Child Questions Their Gender?

by Reid on November 1, 2015

portrait of beautiful lesbian couple in loveHow do you support your son or daughter when they question their sexuality? How can you be a loving parent?

With Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Cathy: Someone wrote in and said, and this was a really loving letter, they said that their child is in college, first year of college, doing great, where they’re so proud of their kid, but the person, their child is dealing with trying to figure out what they want in terms of gender. They’ve taking this sexuality course, they’re questioning, they’re feeling gender fluid and their parents, the parents are super loving and supportive and they’re wanting to know what do we do? How do we support, how do we help take care of this, that sort of thing.

Reid: So they came to us.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Reid: We’re actually not the best people to ask, because we’re pretty sis-gendered in how we identify with the world. Sis-gendered meaning you’ve never thought about or questioned which bathroom you should be using when you’re out in public, then you’re probably sis-gendered, which means that the gender that was assigned to you at birth is the one that seems to fit best for you.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: Now that we live in the day and age where people are deconstructing gender and you can be gender fluid, you can be gender queer, you can be trans, you can be this, you can be that. Now it’s all up for grabs and some people have kids or friends who are going through this and you’re like ahh, what do I do, how do I do this right?

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: So we will point you in good directions for resources, but understand that we’re just two sis-gendered people here sitting in front of a video camera.

Cathy: Yeah, and we really appreciate you asking the question, because a lot of parents would be so overwhelmed with that situation and they wouldn’t even think to ask how they could support their child.

Reid: So thanks for being awesome parents.

Cathy: Yeah. So the first thing is, I would just encourage you, I’m just, again, sis-gendered but I know when I came out as a lesbian initially and later as bisexual, having someone, my grandfather actually was amazing about this. I brought my girlfriend home and I said, are you guys okay, and he said, you’re still my granddaughter, right? Like I love you, just as you are. You get to be who you are. Knowing that was so reassuring. Just telling your child, like hey, I know this is a confusing time right now, you’re trying to figure out a lot and society can be really challenging around this.

I want you to know that I love you and I support you and I’m going to be there for you as you figure this out and it’s okay if you’re not certain. It’s okay if you change your mind. I’m just going to love you and just being really clear about that. It can be challenging, so I encourage you to get some support, because most of us were brought up in a society where you were either, it’s a very binary society. You were either male or female and that’s it. I know very loving people who’ve been very challenged by the concept that people can be gender fluid. Get some support for yourself if you can, even if you’re, intellectually you understand all of this, like you may.

Reid: Keith Warstein’s Gender Outlaws book is a great book for everybody and there are lots of other books out there, but I would start there. Alex Morgan, as a trans person, [inaudible 00:03:12] Rivera is great with gender and talking about trans issues and gender issues and I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton of other amazing people, but start there with those people.

Cathy: Mac…

Reid: Mac McGregor.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: In Seattle. Other really great people, if you need their, can’t find them in Twitter or what not, just write in the comments.

Cathy: And we’ll help you find them.

Reid: And we’ll help you find them, we’ll try to put them in the description below.

Cathy: Yeah. If you can, just let, keep doing such a great job and get the support you need and let your kid know that you love them and that’s a big step forward.

Reid: Regardless of what gender you are, how you identify where you are in the spectrum, people just like to be loved.

Cathy: Thanks so much.

Reid: Thanks for writing in, comments below. Resources, list yours.

Cathy: Yeah, share please.

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