A great place to begin raising LGBTQ+ allies is talking about families. Families can look like a different number of parents, grandparents raising kids, two moms or two dads, or any number of other situations.
If your child comes to you with a question, you can answer with a question to figure out what they are really asking. Is it about name-calling, a classmate’s two moms, or something they saw in a book or show? Listening first helps you respond.
Do your best to offer direct and simple answers. Using examples can help children understand definitions. “What’s gay?” “People who love people of the same gender, like Taylor and Jordan. Taylor and Jordan love each other, and they want to be a family to each other.”
Conversation with your young children about the LGBTQ community is less about sex and more about promoting kindness and love to others. As kids get older, you can discuss love as an attraction and talk about additional terms like sexual orientation, gender expansive, gender nonconforming, intersex, pansexual, asexual, androgynous, questioning, etc.
In my home and on this platform, I want to foster a climate where there is respect for the diversity of beliefs and families within our community.
Below are some child focused definitions about the difference between gender (boy, girl) and sex assigned at birth (male, female), and LGBTQ+ terminology. This is not an exhaustive terminology list, but it’s a starting place.
- Sex assigned at birth: When a baby is born, a doctor or midwife looks at the baby’s body and says they are a girl or a boy.
- Gender: Ideas about what it means to be a boy or girl from a group of people (culture).
- Gender Identity: How you feel about yourself. Girl, boy, both or neither. Everyone has a gender identity.
- Gender Expression: People show how they feel and what they like through clothes or hairstyles. Sometimes people think that these things go with certain genders, but you can’t know someone’s gender from how they look.
- Non-binary: Some people feel that being a “boy” or “girl” does not fit for them. There are many ways to be a girl, boy, both or neither. Sometimes instead of he or she, we use they or them.
- Cisgender: When how you feel (gender identity) is the same as what doctors/midwives told you when you were born.
- Lesbian: People who love people of the same gender, usually two women.
- Gay: People who love people of the same gender.
- Bisexual: People who love people of the same gender or different gender.
- Transgender: When how you feel (gender identity) is different than what doctors/midwives told you when you were born.
- Queer: Celebrating people of all gender identities and all the ways people love each other.
Examples of What to Say to Littles:
- When people are adults, they can get married. People can love, take care of each other, and be a family, no matter their gender.
- Some families have two moms. Both moms take care of and love their kids.
- All families are different.
- Children come into a family in many different ways.
- Some families have a mom and a dad. Some have two moms or two dads. Some have only one mom or one dad. Some have grandparents or aunts and uncles who take care of kids.
- People of all genders can have long hair, short hair, or no hair.
- You can’t tell someone’s gender from how they have their hair or how they dress.
- In our home, we respect that every person is unique and different.
Knowing and learning about the LGBTQ community and terms helps us and our kids to be respectful and create a community where all are welcome. Happy PRIDE! Love is Love!