Family support for LGBT children

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

<p>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</p>

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the LGBTQIA Health Support Group.

@swedegirl54

Question and concern about 6 yr old grandchild stating she is a boy. Parents are letting her express this in dress, haircut and pronouns. As a grandparent, I am ok with this, if indeed she sees herself this way. What bothers me is that she is only 6 and wonder if she is just "trying this on" or can she indeed know this at her age. I wonder if it just a phase, she might think she is an astronaut next week. Do not want to do the "wrong thing" but concerned this may be pushing her into something that is just a phase.

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Many non-binary people felt uncomfortable in their bodies most of their young lives so it is possible they know this about themselves at age 6. Parents and grandparents can be supportive no matter what this young person is feeling and that includes changes in gender or gender expression. With gender fluidity, anything is possible.

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@sueinmn

May I ask you a question, please? Are the parents gently following the child's lead? If so, I am not sure there is a long-term problem. I would feel differently IF it seemed either parent was stepping out of the child's shadow & trying to lead, making one choice or another seem right or wrong.
It surely could be a phase, but being accepting and open now means that when other issues come up over the next few years, even a complete change of gender identity, the child will feel secure discussing it with family instead of hiding it like it is bad. We have friends whose child decided at eight he was a boy, but this summer, at 13 has decided to be referred to as it/they, created a gender-neutral name, and informed family they will "decide exactly later." Fortunately, parents, brothers, grandparents and cousins are very accepting.
My heart goes out to those who struggle with gender identity, but family can make it not so scary by being flexible and accepting, creating a safe landing zone for the questioning one.

I hope you can accept whatever he tries on over the next decade or so. If you are uncomfortable talking about it with your peers, get in touch with the the LGBTQIA support community at your church or a local school, where you can meet others with questions like yours.
Sue

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Thank you so much for your response. The parents are well educated and I believe doing what they should to not demonize her choices. I think they may be going a bit far with cutting her hair like a boy, using he pronouns and sending her off to kindergarten that way. It is their preference and I will abide with that though I would let her think she is a boy without pushing it. Hopefully it is a phase and she will grow out of it. If not, I would be more comfortable if this was coming during puberty. Thanks for your input and will just sit back and observe.

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