Family support for LGBT children

Posted by Ayesha, Alumni Mentor @ayeshasharma, Jan 25, 2020

I’m a mentor here on Mayo Connect, and I like to spark discussion around being LGBT to invite others who identify as LGBT to join whenever they’d like. I recently posted about being LGBT during the holidays and the challenges that this experience can pose for a lot of people of all ages and identities. But I want to open up the conversation about LGBT kids and their relationships with their families year-round

@gingerw That's so true! It's unfortunately not that often that parents of trans kids will be as publicly supportive as the Wade family. Many parents may accept their children but won't go out to say, "Hey, this is my kid. She's trans, and I stand behind her unwaveringly. Also, she's got a lot of other qualities to be admired!"

@lisalucier Yes totally! It happens all the time to trans folks and it happens to me personally on the regular. And I think it's a really important think for allies to engage with, so I'm so glad you brought this up. Your trans friend/family member/partner/etc. is likely more concerned about the genuine effort and intention as opposed to whether you 'get' their correct pronouns/name right away. Most trans folks, like myself, will generally have lots of people in their life who know their correct pronouns (or name) but actively choose not to respect them. The reason for this can be that these people think it's too difficult, they don't believe that being trans is real or valid, etc. But if you're trying, it's really not a big deal if you mess up every once in a while. Just apologize, correct yourself to convey that you know this person's pronouns/name and you intend to respect them (correcting yourself aloud also sends a message to other people who may have heard you misgender this person so they don't misgender the person as well as a result of your mistake), and move on.

And one big thing I want to add to this is, just because you shouldn't be hard on yourself about when you mess up doesn't mean you shouldn't make a genuine effort to try to learn the individual's name and pronouns. If you care about the trans person and/or if you're interested in becoming a better ally, you can practice using the individual's correct name and pronouns when they're not around.

Here are two ways to do so: 1) ask someone to be your accountability partner, and to correct you when you mess up someone's pronouns or name (I did this when I was first learning and it was so helpful! My friend would correct me and I would correct her when we used the wrong pronouns for our mutual friend, and it really *worked*!), 2) practice on your own – speak about the trans person in your life to yourself while you're alone. Just simple sentences that include their name/pronouns! If you do this regularly, you'll get the hang of it.

Everyone has their own methods. An actor from the show Pose, Indya Moore (they/them pronouns), developed an accountability system with agents at their talent agency. Whenever someone accidentally misgenders them, that person has to put some money in a jar. Indya said the cash will be donated to organizations that support Black trans and gender non-conforming individuals, which is a really cool initiative, I think!

@hopeful33250 I really appreciate you sharing that, and for being an active ally. It would be awesome if some gay/queer/trans members of your church partook in these discussions, as it will bring more diverse perspectives which we can definitely use. The community is not a monolith, but one thing I think many of us can agree on is that LGBTQ+ people could use some more health advocacy in and out of formal healthcare spaces. Please do feel free to follow up with me on that and let anyone know they should feel free to connect with me personally if they'd like.

REPLY
@ayeshasharma

@gingerw That's so true! It's unfortunately not that often that parents of trans kids will be as publicly supportive as the Wade family. Many parents may accept their children but won't go out to say, "Hey, this is my kid. She's trans, and I stand behind her unwaveringly. Also, she's got a lot of other qualities to be admired!"

@lisalucier Yes totally! It happens all the time to trans folks and it happens to me personally on the regular. And I think it's a really important think for allies to engage with, so I'm so glad you brought this up. Your trans friend/family member/partner/etc. is likely more concerned about the genuine effort and intention as opposed to whether you 'get' their correct pronouns/name right away. Most trans folks, like myself, will generally have lots of people in their life who know their correct pronouns (or name) but actively choose not to respect them. The reason for this can be that these people think it's too difficult, they don't believe that being trans is real or valid, etc. But if you're trying, it's really not a big deal if you mess up every once in a while. Just apologize, correct yourself to convey that you know this person's pronouns/name and you intend to respect them (correcting yourself aloud also sends a message to other people who may have heard you misgender this person so they don't misgender the person as well as a result of your mistake), and move on.

And one big thing I want to add to this is, just because you shouldn't be hard on yourself about when you mess up doesn't mean you shouldn't make a genuine effort to try to learn the individual's name and pronouns. If you care about the trans person and/or if you're interested in becoming a better ally, you can practice using the individual's correct name and pronouns when they're not around.

Here are two ways to do so: 1) ask someone to be your accountability partner, and to correct you when you mess up someone's pronouns or name (I did this when I was first learning and it was so helpful! My friend would correct me and I would correct her when we used the wrong pronouns for our mutual friend, and it really *worked*!), 2) practice on your own – speak about the trans person in your life to yourself while you're alone. Just simple sentences that include their name/pronouns! If you do this regularly, you'll get the hang of it.

Everyone has their own methods. An actor from the show Pose, Indya Moore (they/them pronouns), developed an accountability system with agents at their talent agency. Whenever someone accidentally misgenders them, that person has to put some money in a jar. Indya said the cash will be donated to organizations that support Black trans and gender non-conforming individuals, which is a really cool initiative, I think!

@hopeful33250 I really appreciate you sharing that, and for being an active ally. It would be awesome if some gay/queer/trans members of your church partook in these discussions, as it will bring more diverse perspectives which we can definitely use. The community is not a monolith, but one thing I think many of us can agree on is that LGBTQ+ people could use some more health advocacy in and out of formal healthcare spaces. Please do feel free to follow up with me on that and let anyone know they should feel free to connect with me personally if they'd like.

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@ayeshasharma

Great. Please send me a PM and let's talk about how to engage them in Connect. I know of one he/she who speaks at a university in Ohio on a regular basis on the topic of transgender issues and several others.

REPLY
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