At Starlight, we strive to provide equal access to our programs and ensure diversity at all levels of our organization. We are committed to focusing on equality, diversity, and inclusion across our organization.
One facet of that is supporting the LGBTQ+ community through our programs, educating our community around topics, and providing resources to help parents talk to their children about LGBTQ+ topics.
These discussions can include talking about gender, gender identity, breaking out of the gender binary, and much more.
Let’s get started with a few definitions. What is gender identity? It is how individuals see themselves and what they call themselves; this can be different than their sex assigned at birth.
The gender binary only recognizes two genders—male and female; this view does not include people that do not describe themselves as male or female and it is so important that we work to raise kids that are not just respectful of other views but are accepting and inclusive of genders outside of the binary.
Starlight wants to make sure that parents are feel prepared to do this, so we gathered together tips to help you with that!
Start by just having conversations with your child. There are so many resources available to help you speak to your child in an age-appropriate way and can help you get the conversation started.
Encourage your child to play with all types of toys regardless of if they are stereotypically supposed to be for males or females. For example, offer your child both dolls and trucks no matter their gender or allow them to have any favorite color instead of saying something like “oh no, blue is for boys.”
Read books that depict a wide range of gender identities and break typical gender stereotypes in order to teach your child to be accepting of those that may be different than them.
Depending on your child's level of understanding of these topics and their age, you can introduce them to the Gender Unicorn. Generally, children develop the ability to recognize and label stereotypical gender groups between the ages of 18 and 24 months; then, by the age of three they are able to identify their own gender. Therefore, you may be able to use the Gender Unicorn earlier than you may have assumed!
Most importantly, allow your children to be themselves! By accepting your own child for who they are and providing them a safe space, you are teaching your kids to be inclusive and understanding of others that may not be exactly like them.