My Kids Asked Me What Is Transgender – And Everything Related To LGBTQ

Nov 12, 2020 | Mom Life, Random Thoughts

“Mommy, did you know that Coy Mathis was born as a boy but now he’s a girl?”

This is how our conversation started. I asked the girls who Coy Mathis is and they showed me the story included in the Rebel Girls book. It turns out that Coy Mathis was born biologically as a boy but always considered herself as a girl. When she started going to school, she was not allowed to use the girls’ restroom because she is biologically male. This act by the school prompted Coy’s family to file a case against the school for violating Colorado State’s Anti-Discrimination Law. The court ruled in Coy Mathis’ favor.

Because of this, the girls are now more curious about what it means to be a transgender. Then, there are questions about lesbians and gays or why some people want to “change.”

To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for this.

I studied in an all-girls school, so lesbians and same-sex relationships are nothing new to me. I have friends who are gays and got one of my closest law school friends to be my daughter’s ninong. Interacting with them was never an issue to me and I don’t discriminate based on sexual orientation.

I wasn’t really “briefed” on this but I think being respectful towards other people comes out naturally as part of my upbringing. So when my daughters asked me about LGBT, I was surprised. I feel that I “know” the answers but I am not sure on how to frame it in a way that they will understand.

Nevertheless, we had a talk.

The husband and I agreed that it’s okay for them to learn about these things. Why? What’s the point of shielding them from reality, right? Sometime, somewhere, they will meet people who will identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. They also study in an all-girls school, which means in a few years, they will have friends, classmates, or acquaintance who are lesbian AND IT’S OKAY.

That being said, how do we talk to school-age kids about one’s sexual orientation?

Drawing by my daughter

LOOK FOR A “TEACHABLE” MOMENT

I don’t know when and how we will talk to our girls about one’s sexual orientation. Thanks to Coy Mathis’ story, which was included in the book, we were able to discuss it.

Have a conversation whenever the situation arises and regardless of the child’s sexual orientation. Watch the news, look for articles, or talk about someone you know that is a member of the LGBTQ community. Our kids will meet someone who are gay or lesbian eventually and as parents, we need to teach them as early as now on how they should react to it, which is to be respectful.

LISTEN

This is important. I asked my kids how they feel about transgender and they told me that, “It must’ve been painful going through the surgery.” I asked them about two men or women being together and their response was, “is that okay, mom? Maybe some will not like it.”

The point is we need to listen to what our kids will say. Acknowledge how they feel and respect their views on LGBTQ. Avoid interrupting them and let them speak their mind. Kids will have different positions from ours and as parents, we should not force them to change those views just so it will be in line with ours.

USE SIMPLE, EASY TO UNDERSTAND WORDS

Same-sex relationships, transgender, and queer are some of the concepts that kids have not encountered – yet. When having “the talk,” make sure to go down to their level so it will be easier for them to understand what LGBTQ and related concepts mean.

For instance, instead of saying “same sex relationship,” we can say “a girl loves a girl” or “a boy loves a boy.” I also say “a girl who believes she is a boy” or vice versa.

Videos can also help in case you’re struggling with how to use the right words. I came across Queer Kid Stuff on YouTube and there were several videos about LGBTQ, which were presented in a way where kids can easily understand.

HONESTY IS STILL THE BEST POLICY

My kids asked me why there are gays and lesbians. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to answer it. I just told them that each one of us has our own preferences and we must respect that, even if it’s different from the others.

What’s my point? Be honest to your kids. If you don’t know the answer, then say you don’t know. If your child asks a complex question, then you can also respond with a question to keep the conversation flowing. This can also be a good learning technique instead of giving kids answers that may not be aligned with how they feel or believe.

FOCUS ON VALUES

This is also important. During the course of our conversation, my kids believe that a man and a woman belong together. They were also concerned that not everyone will like the idea of two girls or two boys together, which I validated because it’s true. Not many people will tolerate same sex relationships.

Aside from identifying what LGBTQ means, this gave me an opportunity to focus on and teach values. I reminded them that regardless of who a person is with, we must respect that. Respect towards others is something we’re lacking nowadays, otherwise, there will be no more name-calling or shaming.

As they get older, they will meet people who will think or feel differently from them, especially when it comes to this. It is not their job to change other people’s perspective or how they should feel about members of the community. It is not their job to ask the lesbians, gays, trans, or queers to change and comply with the norms.

Their job is to be open-minded and respectful, and to call out those who are discriminating people based on sexual orientation. As parents, we need to prepare our kids for that.

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15 Comments

  1. Jing Ramos Masangkay

    Well said Ma’am! May guide na din ako kung paano mag explain kapag nagtanong ang anak ko. hehe Share ko to sa ate ko kasi yung anak nyang babae na 6yrs old matanong na tungkol dito. 😊 Thank you Ma’am Ayi. 😊

    Reply
    • Ayi

      Hehe glad you found the post helpful πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Rose Ann Sales

    This really sounds like a tough awkward situation. Thanks for the tips. So helpful.

    Reply
  3. Krysten Quiles

    I love that they’ve learned through the Rebel Girls book. I’ve been meaning to get those for my nephew, I think they’ll help him to be inspired by strong women and teach him things. Thanks for sharing your story with us, it sounds like you did a great job of teaching and listening.

    Reply
  4. Gervin Khan

    Beautiful and very well said article. My daughter also asked me about this and I am glad that I am not having a hard time explaining this matter to her.I think we need to inform them about the LGBTQ community at an early age not to shame their community but to build respect for their community towards my kids’ eyes.

    Reply
  5. Emily Fata

    Such an important thing to talk to the next generation about, as it’s a completely normal part of life to learn!

    Reply
  6. Kileen

    I could see how this could be a difficult and delicate topic to discuss with your kids. It sounds like you handled it perfectly.

    Reply
  7. Valerie Claresta

    Well said. I also have a guide on how to explain when my child asks.. There is nothing wrong with telling the kids from an early age about this.

    Reply
  8. Vera Ida

    We are generally taught that there are only two sexes, male and female, and that your gender assigned at birth determines your gender. I think we need to inform them about LGBT too.

    Reply
    • Ayi

      The bottom line is we should teach the younger generation not to discriminate. I understand that not everyone can accept or tolerate members of the LGBTQ community but as parents, we feel that we have a responsibility to teach our kids not to be disrespectful.

      Reply
  9. Mosaic Art

    You’re just amazing!!! I am an adult now and my parents still shy away from mentioning any of these stuff!!! Your kids are lucky to have you and your husband.

    Reply
    • Ayi

      Thank you! Topics like this must not be avoided. We will all have our differences and opinions but at the end of the day, we need to teach our kids to be respectful.

      Reply
  10. Heidi

    This is definitely something we should be talking about more and understanding of.

    Reply
  11. Janessa Pablo

    Great read! Will keep your point in mind for when people ask. Some people need a kid perspective lol

    Reply
  12. Kiwi

    I believe if kids are inquiring it’s best to educate them. If not the world will teach them.

    Reply

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