Raise Vegan August 2018 - Page 39

A Note From A Parent Parent: My 12 year-old daughter is taking a sex education course at school and today she told the teacher that she liked both girls and boys, but isn’t sure. The teacher told me about the comment, but in the moment, they offered no advice or information to my daughter. I have Stonewall links, LGBTQ+ Charities links, and information, but I am unsure how to approach my child and share what I’ve learned with her. I am also worried that her father may not be receptive to the information. Lindsey: My initial reaction is that she is 12, lots of kids question their sexuality around this age. Firstly, assure her whatever the situation is, she is completely normal and loved. There is no rule that states she has to have complete self-awareness nor to have it im- mediately. It takes a bit of exploring and considering reactions in different situations. Whatever she does, however she feels, she is valid. The main thing you want to avoid is sexualizing a 12-year-old, allow her to process her feelings, and be the one to broach the subject. Resources For Parents Books The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us by Kate Bornstein This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life Paperback by Dannielle Owens-Reid Always My Child: A Parent’s Guide to Understand- ing Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Questioning Son or Daughter by Kevin Jennings (NOTE: Transgender, not Transgendered. One is a Noun and one is a verb/action. Transgender peo- ple exist. There is no action needed to make them exist and no choice to initiate an action to exist.) Websites www.PFLAG.ORG https://tonyferraiolo.com Highly recommend the movie about Tony “A Self- Made Man” on Netflix. In the US, I would recommend www.PFLAG.org as a place to start. They are also in the UK (www.pflag. co.uk) and they offer a wonderful list of resources, you can find support for both yourself and your daughter. Meanings LGBTQQIP2SAA+ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pan- sexual, Two-Spirit, Agender, Asexual Most importantly, concentrate on the things that have not changed. They are still your daughter as they were yesterday and you love them no matter what. Assure your daughter that this was true before your conversation started and it is still true after. The world has not ended and in fact, because they don’t have to hide their true self from you, the world is now a little more beautiful. Podcast Gender Rebels postcast Sharing information is good, but if you throw too much information at them, it may make them think something is wrong with them. That they aren’t ‘normal’. Why else would it require so much reading? In the meantime, you can personally read everything on the subject that you can. The best analogy I have read regards airplanes - put your own oxygen mask on first, otherwise you are of no use to anyone else. One thing at a time. You can deal with her dad together, when your daughter is ready. When the time comes, the most important thing for her father to understand is that who your daughter is, is not a choice they have made. A friend recently wrote something that has really resonated with me. I think this applies no matter where an individual falls on the LGBTQ+ rainbow. “Nobody chooses to be LGBT - they choose to admit it to themselves, and/or others, and in doing so, give themselves their best chance.” There is no choice in who we are or how we are born. The choice is to look in the mirror and to not run away from it. Choose to embrace it. Facebook Non-Binary Gender Pride There is a difference between identification and categorization. It is important to respect people the way they self identify, and that does not always neatly line up with the way that categories are described. The big definitions: You may see some phrases such as AMAB, DMAB, AFAB, DFAB. These stand for Assigned Male at Birth, Designated Male at Birth, etc. They recognize that one of the two binary sexes is typically established for a person based on a cursory and unscientific judgement of a physician. Intersex people have sex character- istics of both sexes and there is “length” test given to the penile appendage. If it exceeds a certain length, the person used to be designated male. Shorter, then they were designated female. Doctors used to mutliate/cosmetically modify a person to meet the category they chose for the person. This forced selection of gender results in problem