From and For a Beloved Child or Teen
If your granddaughter or great nephew tells you
That they are a different gender than what
People thought at their birth,
What can you do?
Educate yourself and ask experts to help.
Find a safe place where people
Not always your son, daughter or their children
Are knowledgeable and supportive of
And express your confusion or questions to them.
Learn words and terms that may be
Completely new to you, but are extremely important
To your family member or dear friend’s family –
Words such as transgender, cisgender, non-binary
Do more than say
“I accept whatever Jill or John says she or he is”.
Ask what pronouns your relative or friend
Wants to have used when speaking about them –
Then Practice, Practice, Practice
When they are not around.
So when they are around (or on the phone)
Their favored term is second nature.
Become an even better listener
To your grandchild or great niece,
An even better listener to your daughter or son.
If you are reading about gender diversity,
If you are going to a professional who is Knowledgeable and supportive of
More than two labels that were assigned at birth,
If you are listening and learning,
You can become an even more supportive grandparent, great aunt, friend or neighbor.
You can watch a child or youth become
More completely who they are meant to be.
And you may even – slowly and carefully –
Become one of the people who encourages them
To be their best self
And share their awesome gifts with the world.
©July 19, 2018 Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk
Rev. Langston Kirk, a writer, fabric artist and a retired United Methodist pastor, has had amazing opportunities to get to know families with children and youth who are gender diverse.