How to talk to kids about LGBT | How to explain gay pride to a child | How to explain LGBT to kids
It all started with a single question. We were trying to create a Gmail account for my 10 year old when Google asked us to mention the Gender. Smart or Curious or Naughty as children this age are, she said “What if I say ‘Rather Not Say’ mamma”. All this came from our previous discussion to be cautious about sharing private details like date or month or year of birth, city name or the likes as part of the chosen username.
Pat came an opportunity. An opportunity to delve into the gender discussion while it was in perspective and within the realm of relevance. A topic which I otherwise always found difficult to approach with my children. There still are very few children books on the subject matter, but I think it’s important for us parents to sensitize our children towards gender variance so as to raise a generation that is more accepting and considers gender variance as mainstream. Just as it is important to accept people of different religion or color, it is important to respect people with gender variance.
How to talk to kids about LGBT in simple words
So here goes our simple conversation, don’t underestimate this simple conversation for with this you will be laying a beautiful foundation for additional discussion which will come up as and when a doubt arises in their fertile minds.
“Oh dear, you know this option is more for people who would rather not want to talk about their gender. The LGBT community (you may have seen this acronym a lot in the newspaper last few months) until recently had been a bit shy about revealing their gender composition. Just like a man can love a woman, a man can love a man. Their gender is called Gay. A woman that loves another woman is called Lesbian. Gay men and Lesbian woman are also called homosexuals. Sometimes a man can love both another man and a woman. Same for a woman and they are known as bisexuals. You might have noticed, how sometimes men dress up as women on TV reality shows or at times on the traffic signal. They are transgender and prefer to dress up as their opposite sex. There are some people, world over, who disapprove of LGBT and sometimes they make discriminatory statements or try to hurt them which I think is awful and so very wrong.
Actually, homosexual marriages were illegal in our country until September 2018, which is when we ended this law. Homosexuality is not a crime anymore in India.”
And then a number of questions may follow. Like this one –
“Ya, I have actually seen a boy who seems more like a girl, the way he walks or talks”. And that’s how the conversation continues into deeper insights like
Can they have kids?
When does a boy know he is a Gay?
What is a Pride Parade?
Have you been silent on the subject so far? What age did you start this conversation?
In my opinion, don’t stay quiet on the subject, until they learn from other rather unreliable sources and get used to the term like queer, or learn to be disrespectful, or make fun of gender variance.
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At when age should I talk about LGBT to kids?
You can start as early as 5 years of age, when your child is more likely to say ‘ya, ok’ and move on. That’s what my 5 year old did. An 8 year old will ponder over it and 10 year old will feel a sense of ease at having this discussion channel opened – for clarifying other doubts on matters of sexuality. Don’t wait till adolescence years begin as by then it may already be quite late, and your child would most likely have formed his/her opinion based on partial or biased views of mostly unreliable sources or filled in the blanks themselves. They may also be left feeling extremely confused.
Starting this dialogue early will, I feel, help them display a better understanding and empathy towards their friends and develop a lifelong acceptance towards homosexuality.
Have you shared positive attitude and values towards gender variance? What age do you think is a right age to start this conversation? I would like to hear your views on this, please write to be me in the comments.