Need advice on how to introduce concept of gender - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 01-02-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

 

I'd be grateful for any advice. My DD has recently become interested in who is a girl and who is a boy. I think it's partly her age and partly because on a CD (that we like overall) of Mr. Rogers, Mr. Rogers introduces one song saying something like "when you are born a boy, you are a boy and when you're born a girl, you are a girl." This language bothers me and DP, especially because my DP does not identify as male or female. Interestingly, my DD will say "Mama, you are a girl and Baba is sort of a girl and sort of boy." so she has some understanding of the fluidity of gender. However, I'd like to explore gentle way to introduce the concepts of transgender, genderqueer, bigender, pangender, genderless, etc. Any suggestions about how to bring these up in a natural way with a young child?

 

Thanks in advance!


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#2 of 5 Old 01-03-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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How old is your daughter? Ours is 5, and I think we've been having conversations about transgender stuff for a couple years now. We have a close friend who is transgender (FtM), and is very serious both about his own kids understanding, and about other kids in our social circle. We talk about how "Sometimes someone is born with a girls body but feels like a boy inside, and later they change to being a boy or a man." (and vice versa). Our daughter is all about details, so we've talked about changing what you wear, and sometimes having surgery to change your body, and for the stuff that seems stickier (where we may not even know the answers), our friend is available to answer her questions.

 

For a while, she seemed kind of concerned about this, and was asking lots of questions. Eventually we figured out she was worried she might just randomly wake up one day and be a boy. Once we got that clarified ("it's really really hard to switch, you have to decide to do it and do a lot of work" her response: "Oh good! I want to be a girl!") -- now it's just part of what she understands about the world. 


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#3 of 5 Old 01-03-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyn_ftst View Post

How old is your daughter?


Almost 4.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyn_ftst View Post

Ours is 5, and I think we've been having conversations about transgender stuff for a couple years now. We have a close friend who is transgender (FtM), and is very serious both about his own kids understanding, and about other kids in our social circle. We talk about how "Sometimes someone is born with a girls body but feels like a boy inside, and later they change to being a boy or a man." (and vice versa).

 

I like that. Thanks so much for the practical suggestion.
 

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Originally Posted by lyn_ftst View Post
Eventually we figured out she was worried she might just randomly wake up one day and be a boy. Once we got that clarified ("it's really really hard to switch, you have to decide to do it and do a lot of work" her response: "Oh good! I want to be a girl!") -- now it's just part of what she understands about the world.

 

That's wonderful. joy.gif

 


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#4 of 5 Old 01-03-2012, 12:41 PM
 
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We were definitely having these conversations at four. Since your daughter already has some understanding of your DP's gender fluidity, you probably have some nice openings for conversation. We've generally had no trouble with our daughter getting the idea of gender being changeable, but she can still be pretty rigid -- that you can only be one or the other. Some of that is the age, and I think (hope) she's loosening up just a bit...


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#5 of 5 Old 01-03-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Lyn! It's always reassuring to hear from other parents having similar conversations with their children.


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