Someone wrote…

I work at an aftercare with elementary children ages 5-12, and I don’t know how I would be able to explain everything to them, or how their parents would react to having a transgendered person taking care of their children. It’s a hard enough concept for my adult friends and family to grasp – how can I ask second graders for the same level of understanding?

Have you ever come out to a child or youth? If so, how did they take it as compared to an adult?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on February 20th, 2009 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 7 comments »

7 Responses to “Understanding.”

  1. Dharma Kelleher

    You’d be amazed at how well young people can grasp differing concepts of gender. Parents are another matter altogether.


  2. Z

    In my experience, kids grasp this stuff way easier than adults do. For a few years, my youngest sister couldn’t determine if I was a boy or a girl, because she based gender assessments on hair length.

    I find that kids become more hung up about normative gender roles only later in life, after they’ve made “mistakes” like this and had adults correct (and usually, embarrass) them.


  3. Becky

    Kids are sometimes easier–explain in the simplest terms, and they understand. I explain that just because I don’t dress like a girl doesn’t make me a boy. And I explain that the same way their mom loves their dad, I love another girl who might be a mom one day. It’s their parents I worry about, when that information trickles back to them.


  4. noah

    hey, i work as well in an elementary school. i’m not transgenderd, but i’m a very boyish.
    it must complicate things just a little bit more in your world.
    about the kids- mostly they’ll accept what you’ll tell them as natural. even if they’re confused, as an authority figure they won’t judge(as in be able to say that’s good or bad) you on this subject, still to young. the more conversation you stir up about gender in simplified terms the easier it will be for them to accept this as just another thing.
    i talk about mostly first and second grades, from my exprience with kids the younger they are it’s easier for
    them to “accept” it as neutral. the older they are, the more conversation is required.
    the kids they will get used to it.very adaptble creatures. be strong!

    on this subject, have you seen adrea gibson’s piece on kids dealing with blended gender? check it out.


  5. Natt Nightly

    I find that kids usually just accept the most straightforward answer. Recently a little girl I’d known for a long time asked me why I was wearing a tie. I told her it went with my outfit, and she accepted it as logical. I think you let the kids bring it up. If you feel the need to address it with your class, it might be something as simple as, at the beginning of the year, letting them know your pronoun, and saying that if they have any questions, they can feel free to ask.

    Parents can be harder than kids, but in the long run, if they feel you’re a good teacher and helping their kid to grow, you work will be more important than your gender to them.


  6. Helyx

    I work with youth, and a number of my coworkers are trans/GQ…
    we have had conversations with them about gender, I feel like it is best to talk to them in a way that does not establish gender non-conformity as unusual… and answer questions honestly…



  7. Kira

    You might have trouble with the younger ones (ages nine and under, maybe) but don’t underestimate kids too much.
    I’m thirteen; half of my friends are still twelve; they grasp gender complexity just fine.
    My nine year old sister, on the other hand, does not.
    I didn’t either, when I was nine.
    But eleven and twelve year olds might surprise you.
    Good luck!


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