Supporting Our Gender Fluid Children 

5 Aug

Recently, a loving and concerned mother wrote in to share her journey while supporting her gender fluid child. My first reaction was one of incompetence: my FTM son identifies as male. I felt that perhaps information I shared or my experiences as a parent with a transgender kid might not be “legitimate” or “enough”.

However,  I realized mothers of transgender children who identify with the binary (the concept of the two traditionally recognized genders; male and female) share insights and experiences not so very different than mothers of children who identify as gender fluid (identify as neither or both female and male and experience a range of femaleness and maleness, with a “flow” between the genders). Mothers of binary and fluid children both have to learn to accept and embrace our children regardless of how they present themselves! We each have to field questions (often very private) about our children from family, friends, and perhaps even strangers. We mothers all may struggle in knowing just how to best support our kids. We may feel disappointed and even grieve the loss of our personal dream for our child. We all worry and fret. The struggle IS real for each of us! 

The message: 

1-To the mother that wrote in, like so many of you, you are doing a GREAT job of supporting your child! You are pushing yourself and finding strength to be an advocate!! Even though you may experience pain along the way, you are trying to wrap your head around your child’s new reality-kudos to you! 

2- It is so important to respect non-binary gender identities, and it sounds like the mom that wrote in completely understands this! For those of you still struggling, Hey! It’s a BIG process to understand a new paradigm; something that is not what you have grown up expecting! You get time to learn to bend. It’s okay not to automatically be on board- but know that your kid needs your love and don’t give up your journey!! 

3- The medical establishment is slowly coming around, but it is true that it may be harder to find professionals who can competently work with non-binary folks. There IS hope though, as the WPATH Standards of Care now recognize non-binary gender identities, and people CAN access medical care (hormone therapy, surgery) as non-binary under the Standards of Care. 

4- What may be most helpful is helping the young adult connect to other non-binary/genderqueer folks, even if it’s just online. There are so many non-binary folks who have accessed hormone therapy, surgery, etc. and it might be nice for your child to get to talk things through with other people, especially if their current doctors don’t “get it.” 

5- My son shared with me that he has friends with non binary gender identities (genderqueer, Two Spirit, etc.) who haven taken hormones for years, stopped taking them, and have no regrets. They continue to be non binary-identified. 

6-The best thing anyone can do is support people in having access to all the information they need to make an informed choice…and keep supporting them no matter what their decisions are down the line!! 
* Here are some resources that may be helpful:

http://darahoffmanfox.com/ask-gender-therapist-can-transition-im-non-binary-genderfluid/ (or you can just link right to the youtube page of the video)
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/myths-non-binary-transition/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-non-binary-perspective-on-top-surgery_us_58d27b27e4b062043ad4ae76

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/transitioning-while-non-binary/
http://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-is-non-binary-gender

http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-non-binary-people-how-to-be-respectful-and-supportive

As always, my best to you as you advocate and continue to demonstrate unconditional love! 

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3 Responses to “Supporting Our Gender Fluid Children ”

  1. Darlene Tando, LCSW August 5, 2017 at 11:06 pm #

    Hoping this new worksheet I created could be helpful in opening doors for conversations! ❤
    https://darlenetandogenderblog.com/2017/08/03/new-and-improved-gender-worksheet-for-kids/

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