Thanks to Caitlyn Jenner and her Vanity Fair cover and the graphic novel "Drama" by Raina Telgemeier my 10 year old has been asking a lot of questions about gender and sexual identity. Last week I saw this Facebook status update from my co-editor Irene...
The book Drama that my daughter is reading has a main character who is gay and my daughter asked what gay really meant. What was interesting to me was that the concept of a man loving another man or a woman loving another woman was not what confused her. She has grown up with that just being a normal part of her world. It was the fact that it had a name that was different than just say "person" was what confused her. She could not understand why there had to be a different label.
Discussing transgender was a bit more intense for me. When it comes to this big topics I want to get it right. I want to explain it in a way that my daughter can understand. I want her to be compassionate and open-minded. I asked her if she ever woke up thinking she was wrong. That what she felt like inside didn't match what she looked like outside. She thought about it and told me no. I explained that some people do, and they have to live their life feeling like that all day everyday.
I know that this was just the start of a lot of discussions about gender and sexual identity and I can only hope that I am going about it with facts and kindness.