Gender Identity: A Primer for People Who Just Don’t Get It

Gender Identity: A Primer for People Who Just Don’t Get It

Gender identity conversations used to leave me confused and uncomfortable. I had nevertheless tried to raise my children (both boys at that time) with a conscious rejection of traditional gender stereotypes. For example, my oldest son got dolls for Christmas when he asked for them. My youngest son didn’t get dolls because he never asked for them. Dinner conversations included frank discussions about how boys and girls are sometimes treated differently. We have always talked openly about love being what makes a family, regardless of who lives in or outside of someone’s household. And we even talked about how hard it must be for someone to feel like a boy on the inside and look like a girl on the outside, or vice versa.

And yet, despite my ability to mostly say the right words, I still struggled to understand the concepts of transgender and nonbinary. Finally, I had an epiphany that it isn’t my job to understand or validate someone else’s identity. My responsibility involves accepting people as they are and respecting each person’s unique experience. I was, at long last, on a path of being a genuine ally to the trans and nonbinary community.

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