Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Introducing Your Kids To Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity
Published Mar 3rd, 2021 & updated on Mar 19th, 2021
40 years ago, the typical image of a nuclear family was a wife, a husband, and two kids. But over the last few decades, that has thankfully changed! There can be 2 dads, 2 moms, 3 dads, 3 moms, 2 dads and one mom, or parents who go by a different name because they don’t identify with a binary gender. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re reading this article, you probably want to teach your kids to be accepting of all family dynamics and want to make sure that they respect a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s amazing! Thank you for being such a great parent and choosing to raise your kid with a mind open to allll kinds of love and allll kinds of people.
So how do you reinforce the idea that non-heteronormative family structures are cool and totally normal? You start early and you do it one day at a time!
We’ve put together a little guide to help you along the way! (You didn’t think we were gonna let you do this all alone, did you??) It’s broken down into age groups and it has some pretty wicked resources. **humble brag** Ahem. So, let’s dive thru it!
It’s sooooo important to be showing your kids Queer representation from day 1! There can be a lot of heteronormative portrayals out there in the world, and they can really impact how your child perceives Queer relationships. Despite your best efforts to reinforce that Queer love and relationships are awesome, the media they consume might tell them otherwise.
So how do you start teaching your kids about non-heterosexual sexual orientation and gender identity in age-friendly ways?
DiveThru Recommended Videos
Don’t fear! There’s a ton of fantastic content on the internet to help you teach your kids about everything Queer! One of our favourite resources is a YouTube channel called Queer Kid Stuff. We’ve mentioned it in one of our other articles, but we really do love it as a resource for parents!
This channel talks about everything Queer related in age-appropriate and kid-friendly ways. Some of our favourite videos are What Does Gay Mean?, LGBT Representation in Kids Media, Pronouns, and their Pride Month Celebrations!
If you’re looking to spend some time in front of a screen, we totally recommend that you put on one of their videos and hang out with the fam!
DiveThru Recommended Books
DiveThru started out as a journaling app, so you know that we are big advocates for reading and writing! That’s why we think that reading books to your kids that have positive Queer representation is so important.
Reading books is one of the first things that you do with your child, and we love the idea of incorporating books that represent people and kids of all gender identities and sexual orientations!
Here are some of our favourites:
– I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel
– Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson
– Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
– And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Illustrated by Henry Cole
– Sparkle Boy by Leslie Newman
Insults and name-calling really start to become a thing for kids in this age range. It’s important to teach them that it’s not ok to refer to someone or something as gay in a derogatory or insulting way.
You need to talk about why insults regarding sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t ok, and make sure to educate your kid on the history of the Queer Community. Teach them about the Stonewall Riots and how Queer people were shunned and persecuted by the police just for existing. There were frequent raids of clubs and bars, and Queer people were treated brutally by law enforcement. Being gay was also seen as a mental disorder and something that was worthy of being hospitalized.
Ya, it’s dark shit, but it’s important that they understand the history of their words and that there is a significant amount of hurt behind them.
DiveThru Recommended Books:
Annnnd we’re back again to talk about books! Many of us were avid YA novel fans (the best genre ever in our opinion), so why not help your kids find YA books they’ll love that also have Queer representation!
Here is a list from theconversation.com of 5 happy and uplifting YA books that have Queer representation in them:
– Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans
– The Disasters by M.K. England
– The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burgers in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
– Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
– Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
We’re gonna be honest and a bit blunt (why else would you come to us if not for blunt honesty?). This is the age where kids are going to become more sexually active, or at least think about it, and might begin to have some questions about how the specifics of Queer sex works.
If you don’t feel totally comfortable talking to your kid about this, that’s ok! It was probably hella awkward for you to talk about the birds and the bees with your parents too. But it’s important to at least show your kids that you’re happy to support them learning about safe and consensual sex with a partner of any gender!
If you want to do some research on your own, that’s awesome! Look up things like “how does gay sex work?” or “how do lesbians have sex?” You don’t have to know everything about it, but it’s good to understand some of the basics so that you can support your Queer kiddo or at least point them in the right direction if they have any questions.
But realistically, your kid has access to the internet, so they’ll be able to answer a lot of their own questions just by looking them up.
These kinds of conversations are soooo uncomfortable, but if you create a sex-positive and educational environment for your kid, they’re going to be a lot more comfortable coming to you when they face any problems or have questions.
This is a great age to start introducing them to documentaries like Paris Is Burning or The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. These are two phenomenal documentaries that talk about Queer life, and history, in really impactful and meaningful ways. These docs show the plight of Queer people and how they’ve had to fight tirelessly for basic human rights.
Encourage your kids to join clubs and groups that promote equality and queerness. Take them to events like Drag Bingo or even a Drag show! Let them read books by Queer authors, take them to Pride Parades, and let them experience as many different facets of the Queer Community in order to understand the group as a whole as much as possible.
You’ll Do Great!
We know that it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to teaching kids about the Queer Community, sexual orientation and gender identity — but we believe in you! We know that you’re already doing a fantastic job as a parent because you’re reading this article.
There are many more resources out there for each age group, so if you have any suggestions on other educational material that we can include, please let us know! We’ll go back and add it in so that more parents and kids have access to a bunch of different and fantastic educational materials.