Explaining transgendered issues to young children! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-08-2009, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

My partner and I have two children, our daughter is 3.5, our son 5 months. I have always considered my self a lesbian, since my partner started exploring his transgendered self I suppose I consider myself femme queer. He considers himself I suppose transgendered/butch queer/other. 95% of the time we (our family) use the male pronoun for him and he is "Daddy" to our children. He has had no surgery and is still considering T but passes for the most part. At work and to friends that predate our relationship we do not switch back to feminine pronouns and they are aware that he is "Daddy" but there has been no formal coming out. At the point that he is further along his transitioning path (if he cares to be) I suppose there will be a more formal "coming out" for his coworkers and past friends. Our current friends are all aware of his process.

So.............all that was a lead up for our current situation. Our daughter has always called him Daddy. He is not the nudist I am so she has never seen him naked. But, we now have a little boy in the house and she is also getting older and more perceptive. Up to now we have just never addressed sex/gender issues. I and she are girls, Daddy and Luke are boys.

BUT, technically, Daddy's body is female. But, Daddy's soul and, we believe, genetic make up is much more male.

What have you, transgendered famlies, told your children at this age?

I was thinking about a geared for her age talk along the lines of:

We all have the bodies we were born with and the way those bodies are shaped make us either a boy body or a girl body. But, there is also whether we Feel like a boy or a girl. So we can have a girl body, but, feel like we are a boy.

That sounds confusing even to me, lol! Somebody, tell me there's "The toddler's guide to transgenderedism" book out there! If not, could one of our talented writers please write it??

TK
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#2 of 6 Old 03-08-2009, 10:10 PM
 
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I am in the same boat, though our DD is only 7 months. But, I really can't wait to hear what you come up with, and how it works. We have a lot of questions about how talking about sex and gender will play out in our house. My DP also identifies as trans/genderqueer, uses male pronouns, will be "Papa," but has no intention of physically transitioning. He doesn't always (or even usually) pass in public, so people definitely "she" him a lot when we're out together. I wonder a lot about what it will mean for my DD to understand the dissonance between what we call him and what the rest of the world does. I worry about putting her in uncomfortable (unsafe?) situations when we're out in public and she says to someone, "That's my daddy!", while pointing at a person who they read as female. As yet, there are no flesh and blood penises in our lives, so THAT'S not an issue, but who knows, if we have another kid...

Anyway, all this to say that I don't know the answers, but your strategy sounds like a good starting place to me. And, I'm eager to hear from others who have dealt with this.

A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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#3 of 6 Old 03-08-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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I used to babysit for a little girl being raised by a genderqueer parent and a FTM trans parent. When I showed up to babysit the first time (she was almost 4) she looked at me and said "Do you want me to use boy words or girl words for you? Or other words, but I always forget them?" I said, "Boy words are fine. What about you?" and she said "I use girl words. Do you want a cookie?" And that was that. Another time I was sitting for her she was showing me her scrapbook that she had and there was the picture from when she was born. She said "that's daddy and that's mama. Daddy used to not really look like other daddies but now he does and he's happier, cos sometimes people change."

It was crazy adorable. I guess what I'm saying is that it doesn't have to involve big words and discussions of gender theory.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-09-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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I was looking at your explantion you wanted to share with your kids and how you thought it was confusing. i think the most intersting and miraculous thing about kids is that they understand and accept so much more than we realize. I have no doubt that your children will understand that. I am a teacher and it seems like the most simple answer you can give and then build upon as they get older is the best.
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#5 of 6 Old 03-09-2009, 10:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy View Post
I used to babysit for a little girl being raised by a genderqueer parent and a FTM trans parent. When I showed up to babysit the first time (she was almost 4) she looked at me and said "Do you want me to use boy words or girl words for you? Or other words, but I always forget them?" I said, "Boy words are fine. What about you?" and she said "I use girl words. Do you want a cookie?" And that was that. Another time I was sitting for her she was showing me her scrapbook that she had and there was the picture from when she was born. She said "that's daddy and that's mama. Daddy used to not really look like other daddies but now he does and he's happier, cos sometimes people change."

It was crazy adorable. I guess what I'm saying is that it doesn't have to involve big words and discussions of gender theory.
This is a great story. I guess what I'm worried about though is not so much her getting it - I have faith that kids understand far more than adults do sometimes - but rather, how the rest of the world will understand it, and how that's going to impact her, if you know what i mean. Because, my DP DOESN'T look like other daddies, and probably isn't going to anytime soon...

A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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#6 of 6 Old 03-09-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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There *is* the book "the boy with 10,000 dresses" or something like that.
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