Understanding Gender a Guide for Parents

As a parent, you want the best for your child. You want them to feel happy, loved and accepted for who they are. Every day, we are learning more about gender identity and how it impacts our children. It is important to understand the basics of gender identity, and how to create a safe and supportive environment for your child to express their true selves.

What is Gender Identity? Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of their gender. It is how they feel and identify, whether that be male, female, both, or neither. It is important to note that gender identity is not necessarily the same as the sex assigned at birth. Sex is based on biology, whereas gender identity is based on one’s internal sense of self. It is also important to understand that gender is not a binary, but a spectrum. All individuals express and identify with varying degrees of masculinity and femininity.

How Can I Support My Child’s Gender Identity? The most important thing you can do to support your child’s gender identity is to listen to them without judgment. Pay attention to their feelings, and let them express themselves in the way that feels most comfortable to them. It is important to use language that is inclusive and respectful of their gender identity, whether that be he, she, they, or any other pronoun. While it may be incredibly difficult if they ask you to call them by a different name, do your best to respect that new name, this will allow your child to feel seen, heard, and respected by you. You can also provide your child with resources and support, such as books and videos that help them understand and express their gender identity.

It is also important to create a safe and supportive environment for your child. This includes standing up to discrimination and bullying and teaching your child to do the same. You can also work with your child’s school or other organizations to create policies that protect and affirm their gender identity. Check out our blog 7 Tips for Creating a More Inclusive and Supportive Home Environment for Your Transgender or Non-Binary Child.

What Can I Do If My Child Is Struggling With Their Gender Identity? If your child is struggling with their gender identity, it is important to provide them with support and understanding. Seek out resources and support from professionals such as therapists or coaches who specialize in gender identity. You can also connect with other parents who have been through similar experiences, or who have transgender or gender non-conforming children. Many larger cities have LGBTQ+ social services agencies which would be great resources for finding local affirming practitioners including support groups.

It is important to remember that every child is different, and their journey with their gender identity will be unique. Your role as a parent is to love and support them, and to provide them with the tools they need to thrive.

Understanding gender identity is an important step in creating a safe and supportive environment for your child. By breaking down the binary system and embracing the spectrum of gender, you can help your child express themselves in the way that feels most authentic and true to who they are. With love, support and understanding, you can help your child navigate their journey with gender identity and become their best selves. To find additional parent resources check out PFLAG and Gender Spectrum.

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