Tips For Parents On Talking To Their Kids About Transgender Human Being Rights And The HB 2 Bill
Growing up with unreasonable Conservative Parents, I was kept in the dark about important social issues. Any time I asked questions I was met with awkward bullshit or no answer at all. “What does gay mean, mommy?” Um, happy. “Dad what’s masturbation?” Uh, something you don’t talk about until you’re an adult. “Mom, what happens to people who never hear about Jesus, do they automatically go to hell?” Uhh, they, umm, when they get to Heaven, umm, at the gates, uh, St. Peter decides. “How does he decide?” Did you finish your homework?
Growing up in South Carolina that meant I learned about sex, race, religion, and every important society issue from sexist, racist, idiot middle-schoolers, meaning I learned the wrong a million times. I love my parents and know they did their best, but needless to say I was a very very very very dumb, uneducated, idiot of a teenager. Life can be hard, but when you are uneducated or stupid like I was, it is a million times harder. If my parents would of been honest with me there is no telling how much easier my mental life could have been. But you can’t live in the past, all you can do is your best to make the present a true present! So fast forward to the present…
My Conservative cousin, who keeps his children in the dark, and I are discussing Transgender Human Being Rights and the HB2 Bill. He starts in on the bit I’ve seen lots of Conservatives perform when they can’t admit to being scared uneducated bigots, they hide behind their kids like they do the Bible. He whines, “but what do I tell my kids if he sees a man going to the woman’s bathroom? I don’t want my kids to actually know what’s going on, use their own minds, and question a society I’ve put so much hard work brainwashing them into. What do I tell my kids?” It’s simple, THE TRUTH! I know it can be difficult so I gave him some tips…
- Kids Aren’t Stupid And Are Actually Smarter Than You. Obviously they don’t wear suits to their distinguished stockbroker job and if you tell them tires are made of raisins they’ll believe you, but that’s because they haven’t lost their sense of wonder and their minds are wide open. Which is why kids learn instruments and languages at a quicker rate than adults. I know you want to feel like you are superior but you’re not. Your kids are bright and can understand what you have to say if you know how to say it. Which leads to number 2…
- Don’t Come At Them With Some Stupid Metaphor. “Hey Kevin, you know how you like peanut butter and jelly, well sometimes the peanut butter is actually the jelly and the jelly is actually the peanut butter.” No! That’s offensive and unnecessary. It will save you and your kid so much trouble if you can be straight forward. When I was five I asked my mom what sex was. She froze up. Her anxiety made me so anxious I answered the question for her just to make it stop. “A lot of kissing, mom?” Yes, Justin just a lot of kissing. I can’t tell you how much trouble she could have saved me if she would’ve told me the truth about sex. Which brings me to 3.
- Don’t Be Weird About It. Don’t do a voice. Don’t say, hey Shannon, can we talk about something? Do you have a minute so we can talk? My parents did that and to this day any time someone says can we talk, anxiety cannonballs through my body and I think “oh shit, what did I do? Did I skip school?” or I believe I’m about to get asked a strange question like, “son, do you like girls yet?” Kids are responding to your energy. Its why when I used to fall off my bike I didn’t cry till my mother yelled, “oh my God, are you ok?” I guess I’m not cause you’re screaming at me then I’d cry. If you act like something is a huge issue you make people think it is, so say it naturally like you’d say “it’s a beautiful day outside, would you like to go hiking” because it is natural.
“Hey Claire, you know you were told boys have penises and girls have vaginas, well that’s a social construct. Meaning something somebody in society says and others agree, but that doesn’t make it true. Sometimes people with penises are girls and people with vaginas are guys. Sometimes they are neither one or both. It is our job as human beings to respect and support them. If you run into someone who criticizes another because they think they are different you have to know that person is uneducated. If you feel like it, educate them. If they reject you, leave them alone and focus on supporting your friends. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them for you because I love you and you deserve to understand how to love others.”
If you can’t do that, educate yourself. You have the internet, go read about what Transgender Human Beings live through every day. Go watch youtube, Hank Green’s video called “Human Sexuality is Complicated” or 8 Bit Philosophy’s video, “is Gender real?” Once you’ve educated yourself, kindly approach a Transgender Human Being and see if they’ll have a conversation with you. Would you want people to blindly judge you for who they heard that you are? This isn’t me coming at you. This is me asking you to open your mind and learn about others who aren’t like you. That is how we come together, this is how we live in a great world.
After I said this to my cousin he immediately blasted out a deep seeded fear, “but what if my son thinks it’s ok to be that way and starts wearing dresses?” It is ok. I explained to him how the only people who don’t think it is ok are uneducated and all they to do is educate themselves. Everything you know now you used to not know it. Since our conversation my cousin has been a lot more open and claims he is going to do his best to stop hiding important social issues from his kids and educating himself on how to be a better human.
We are not going to have world peace tomorrow, but today we can plant a seed that will grow the future.
Justin Blackburn is the author of “The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues”. You can read Part One for free at www.justinblackburnwrites.com.