I wish to share stories from the parents of trans and non-binary kids, and this mom who shared her story wished to remain anonymous. She shares her experience below (The child’s name has been changed for the story.)
Alex is 5 years old and identifies sometimes as female, sometimes as male, and sometimes as both.
How did you figure out that your child was nonbinary?
From the age of 4 years old, Alex started to make comments about their gender that were different from other kids. It started with a question one day. I was cooking in the kitchen when I said to my child, “I’m so glad you are my son.”
Alex replied, ” What does son mean?”
“Well, I guess you could be my daughter instead.” We had a short talk about what pronouns to use and then the subject got changed.
I asked if we should use a different name and we discussed some things, but the next day, Alex came back and said just call me Alex (not the other names we had talked about.) And as I would ask what pronouns to use, it would change on different days. Some days he and some she. So we started to talk also about non-binary pronouns such as they/them, but at the time Alex had never heard us use they/them pronouns for a specific person.
What is a way that your child shows up or sees things differently because of being nonbinary?
What I find most beautiful about my child in their non-binary way of looking at the world is that Alex has always used a single pronoun for everyone “them”, way beyond the age that other kids start to gender everyone. This child is aware that there are differences in gender and that some are called male and female, but they simply see all as one gender. ‘We don’t have conversations about boys and girls, in fact, it’s rare that those terms are used. We have conversations about “the kids” and how they are doing today.
What are the biggest struggles as a parent of a nonbinary child?
For me, it’s a challenge with explaining nonbinary pronouns to people that are not familiar with the concept. I often get the question, “Is your child a girl or a boy?” and my general response is “both”. That often leads to confused looks and people wanting to know what my child’s sex assigned at birth is. Sometimes, it’s just someone that needs educating and other times they are rude.
One thing that i do to keep my child a bit more protected from this type of thing is to not correct pronouns when we are with strangers. When kids are playing if they use “she” or they use “he” I just go with the flow. If there is a parent that I get to know better, then I try to take the time and have a conversation about who my child is. But, if we don’t have time for that, I try to let me kid just be a kid and enjoy playing.
My thoughts. . .
How do we color our perspective on the world when we view everyone as having to fit into a gender box?
How can we as parents and citizens of the world work to break down the gender lines?
Part of my goal as a writer is to connect with and share stories of more trans and non-binary kids and their parents to help us all do better in raising this next generation to be more inclusive.
Would you like to share your story of how parenting your trans or non-binary kid is changing the world? You can decide if you want to put your name in your story or not. Leave me a note in our contact form. I would love to hear from you.
Are you ready to read stories with more trans and non-binary characters? Check out our Gender Rainbow series. The first book, Can’t Transitions to Can With A Friend Who’s True Blue, is available now. I show a picture here of the first copies that came in the mail to our house just before Christmas.