Raise Vegan August 2018 - Page 38

Gender Identity Sexual Attraction Gender Assignment Gender Expression Everyone has a Birth Gender (Designated/As- signed Gender), Gender Identity, and Sexual At- traction. These things are unrelated. All around us we receive signals that say that if you know one of these things, you know the other two. The truth is these three things do not have to line up in any particular way. Someone can be designat- ed male at birth, identify as male, and be attracted to women. But they just as easily can be designat- ed female at birth, identi- fy as male and be attract- ed to other men. Or they could be born intersex and be cosmetically modified so they can be designated male, but actually have a gender identity that is female, and be attracted to women. Dealing With Guilt Do you think that children can suffer feelings of guilt due to the family expectation of them, or fear they are not the person that their parents had hoped? LP: Ultimately, they need to know that you love and accept them. If a child doesn’t think their own parent accepts them, when this should be their best case scenario, they lose hope of anyone else accepting them, and may cause a downward spiral. There is a high suicide rate among the LGBTQ+ population, with transgender people having the highest suicide rate of 41% having attempted suicide. This isn’t necessarily because they are LGBTQ+, but rather because of the way the people around them behave - and the feelings of isolation and lack of support that come with that. Simply, support from their families, along with using their chosen name and pronouns significantly decreases the chances of them committing suicide. It sounds trite, but it can’t be stated any more seriously - you need to choose whether you’d rather have a dead son or a live daughter. Startling Suicide Rate That is a terrifying suicide rate, and I feel your last open question, of having a deceased child, or one of the opposite sex will really hit home with a lot of parents. Do you have one final piece of advice for this to share this month? LP: There will be plenty of time to follow up on specifics, and ask questions. There are things you are going to want to know. Before you start bombarding them with a lot of specific questions, take some time with the internet and try to do some reading on key terms they mentioned. This will help you formulate more educated questions, and also it will let them know that you took what they told you serious- ly. It will demonstrate to them, without needing any words, that you care. This initial experience [of coming out] for the child only happens once with you, and you’ll never get the chance to get their trust unadul- terated like this again. Talking to you is some- thing they have likely stressed out about and struggled with for a significant period of time. All they will remember from this conversation is how you reacted and how you made them feel. The most important action you can take is to just listen to what your kids are saying without comment, question or judgment. Make sure they know, no matter what happens in the future, that they are loved and nothing will ever change that. You are their parent and you watched them take their first step, you want to be with them taking this giant leap. It is ok to say that you don’t understand, but that you will do everything in your power to learn more, and will be with them through every part of this journey, holding their hand. A Final Note From Lindsey There is this idea some people have that there is only one way to be transgender. Some think, or at the very least imply, that there are degrees of trans-ness and that some people are “more trans” than others. Not all transgender people are running headlong into a full medical transition. Just because a transgender individual does not choose to medically transition their body does not mean that they are somehow confused, pretending, or unable to admit who they are. Hormone therapy is not for everyone; a transgender person is who they are without altering their hormone levels. It does not make them any less non-binary or any less transgender. Why should someone go on hormones if they do not want them? That isn’t being their true self, that is being who someone else thinks they should be. For some transgender people, a medical transition is required for their well-being. It is not a decision that one comes to lightly but it is an exciting one. It is both financially and emotionally taxing but it can make a world of difference in the individual’s life. A person can take hormones without a full transition. For me, identifying as non-binary, there does not seem to be one expression that will ever give me true happiness. As a male assigned at birth, I spend what feels like 90% of my time experiencing life deep on the feminine end of the spectrum. My wife of 30 years continues to ^H[[]Y]H\\^H]YKH[Z[YH]XHݙ\YH]\H^H[ۛHY\›YK\H\\[\[[[]^HH] Y\Z[ۈܛ[ۙ\܈ HYX\H]L H\[\[[ XZ[[ L HݙK\[H]ZH\\XX^H]H\X\ۜ܈[[]]\^H\KY^H[[H^HH\H]]HوZ[B[[^[]H\\Y\[][Y[ۙH܈]’H]HY][H]۸&][\[ۋX[\H[Hۈܛ[ۙ\[H]H][X\YH[H[X]ۋX[\H[]YX[\šYH\HX[ H]H[[[\YۋX[\H[HY[\\HH\^X[[H\YH\\K܈]H\HX\ ܛ[ۙH\\KXY]H\[\ˈ܈[H]\H\وH[[\[][]KH[]H\[]YX[\[X[\[B۸&]X\\[HH\YH[H[H[YH^KYY[ۙH[Hۛ[[H]^H\H[[\[H\^H\HZ[\HۛB[][Y^HXYH\H[H][K[HYX[[YK[\[\XۘZ]Y[ۜ\] Y[][^H\H[ˈ[B[\X۝\][ۜX]ۙx&\^X[Y[]H]]^X][ۜ[\H\ܝ]K[\YH[H\YH]XZ\[B\H H]Yܙ]ˈ]]\^H^H\H[Y[^H\HݙY Z\HY[UQT N