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The hardest part of having a non-binary child is others (published in 2020)


I stood quietly next to the kitchen sink. My hands dripping water on the floor as her mother offended me for what I had just done. I ridiculed, swore, laughed, sighed, and tried to keep her calm while she grew up, while her two children were sleeping upstairs. Then, without warning, she walked away and closed the door of the room behind her. I found her husband, wrapped her arm around him and cried.

After she misgendered my child, all I did was gently correct her.

My husband and I are parents of two noisy and lively children. From the outside, you wouldn’t expect us to make any difference. Our young child is 16 months old and is a young child who makes temperamental tantrum in Panash. Our older child is 7 years old and is the same as any other first grader. They talk very little about school days when asked, hate making beds, and want nothing but the freedom to play Minecraft for more than 23 hours. 1 day. However, there is one thing that sets the first grade apart from others. That is, our child, which I call M, is not cisgender. M is Non-binaryAlso known as Gender Incompatibility, Gender Creation, Gender Incompatibility, or Gender Incompatibility. M uses them / their pronouns and does not simply identify them as the gender assigned to them at birth.

From the beginning, as parents, my husband and I weren’t the blue type for boys and the pink type for girls. We dressed M in the clothes they were drawn to and dressed their hair in the style they liked. We emphasized moving away from the overtly gendered or the idea that our children are given only half of the world’s opportunities. Still, we were willing to raise our children as cisgender without thinking.

About a year ago, when M was six, they started calling themselves “they”, but my husband and I didn’t read it much. We had them a language and basic knowledge of the range of genders. But kids are unpredictable, distracting, and capricious about everything from their favorite foods to their best friends. So when we heard children say several times that they wanted to use these gender-neutral pronouns, we agreed somewhat calmly. It offers a half-hearted attempt to see if they notice. It felt like a reliable way to see if they really meant it.

It worked well and M stayed in the course as he messed up between the original binary pronoun and the adopted neutral pronoun.

However, a few months after the exchange, M returned home from school and was worried about how teachers and classmates referred to them. He realized it was time to talk seriously with them.

When my husband and I talked about gender identity with M and asked how they saw and felt themselves, they were no longer equated with the gender we always knew. I shared with us that there isn’t. “I just feel like a human. Like a person. That’s it,” they insisted.

Children can and do know their gender identity, he said.Psychologist and Mental Health Director Diane Ehrensaft Gender Center for Children and Adolescence At the Benioff Children’s Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco.

“As long as we learn to listen to them rather than telling them who they are, we will step into them to lead a healthy life,” said Dr. Ehren Saft. Said.

Dr. Ehrensaft explained that non-gender-compliant children and adolescent parents need to be unit leaders, listeners and facilitators, rather than dictators.

Coleen Williams, Psy.D., a psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Gender Multi-Specialty Services, said that with children, gender identification and expression begins in early childhood and changes subtly early in primary education with age. It states that it may continue to develop. We provide care to transgender individuals and their families of diverse genders. People can explore their gender identity at any age, Ph.D. Williams added.

However, statistics and research on non-binary children are limited. Part of this could be that our society operates primarily within binary systems. Williams said.

Over time, as I had more conversations with M, I saw them comfortably settle into non-binary gender identity. We asked them the questions pointed out and listened to them as they did their best to explain gender incompatibility, or what GNC means to them, and we have a microscope. Retaining M’s gender identity for a long time underneath is an emotional upheaval. Simply put, we have clarified the message. We tell M that we love them clearly, that we are here for them, that they welcome us to talk and ask questions, and that we regularly Mental health told to check in and monitor them.

At M’s request, they were enrolled in the school’s peer group for fellow GNC students led by the school’s social work team. Therefore, M spends some of the week with people who understand them best.

According to the American Psychological Association Mental health results can be improved Children whose gender identity has been confirmed and supported.

“If this is a difficult problem to reconcile, it’s normal and understandable. As with many parents, there are resources that can ultimately help parents who help their children,” said Dr. Amy Tisshelman. Said. Clinical Psychologist and Director of Clinical Research at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Gender Multi-Specialty Services Program.

She added that giving children the freedom to explore gender identity is key to their well-being and resilience.

By supporting and advocating for transgender and gender diverse people, we develop a positive self-image, verify our gender identity, and adopt effective coping strategies in the face of assault and microaggression. You will have the opportunity. Ehren Saft said. In addition, teaching gender literacy provides a hopeful path to dispel the negatives, prejudices, ignorance and hatred that are common in this community, she said.

The clash with my mother in my kitchen was not an isolated event. My husband and I are responsible for most of the backlash from our families. It is from each couple that bears the brunt, and both spend a considerable amount of mental energy to convey that M does not believe he knows who he is. The amount of emotional labor we spent to claim the autonomy of the firstborn is certainly higher than I expected, but if that ultimately gave M the opportunity to exist in peace, I would Whip 1000 more times. It is out of reach to ensure that children, regardless of gender, are treated with respect and kindness.

At the age of seven, M has a firm grasp of gender identity. And within the limits of our home, they are well aware that they are seen, heard, loved and accepted. It’s really my privilege and my joy. But as it progresses, they love and support my non-binary kids, which is an easy part. The real work is to convince the people closest to us that we should do the same.



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