Understanding transgender youth is an important part of understanding the complexities of human nature. This blog is for you if you have a child who is exploring their gender. It can be hard to support your child if you don’t understand the different identities that young kids are associating with. Fear not! I am here to provide you with a few ways to better understand your child.
To begin, what is the difference between sex and gender?
Sex is the physical biological traits that distinguish between male and female. Gender is the learned psychological, social, behavioral and cultural aspects of being male or female. Someone who is transgender would say that their biological sex does not match their gender identity.
Also, there is a difference in gender identity and gender expression. Gender identity is how you feel inside regardless of the physical characteristics, appearance or behavior. Gender expression is how you express your gender through outward appearance, behavior or mannerisms.
In addition, here are a few terms someone may use to express their gender identity are:
Transgender: biological sex does not align with gender identity
Gender-nonbinary: does not believe there is a gender binary of male and female
Agender: does not have a specific gender identity or expression
Gender nonconforming: does not conform to the gender binary of male and female
Cisgender: biological sex at birth aligns with gender identity
Gender expansive/variant/creative: gender identity or expression does not match the binary of male and female
Intersex: born with different biological characteristics of both male and female sexes
Gender fluid: defy the binary norms and slide along the gender spectrum; movement potential through development of one’s gender identity
So, does being transgender mean my child is gay?
In short, no. Sexual orientation is different from gender expression or gender identity. Sexual orientation is about attraction to the same, different, or both genders. Someone who is transgender may identify as straight, gay, bisexual, or asexual.
To conclude, how can I help support my child who may be experimenting and developing their gender identity?
Love them unconditionally.
Use their preferred pronouns and names.
Be an advocate for your child.
Educate yourself about trans issues.
Seek support through counseling or support groups.
For more information about Amy Wine Counseling Center’s counseling services, contact our front desk at 832-421-8714.