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How To Explain LGBTQ To A Child

How To Explain LGBTQ To A Child: Full Guide

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

It is important to strike a balance between being clear and being sensitive when talking to children about gender identity and sexual orientation.

As a parent who has navigated these conversations with my child, I’ve discovered a few effective strategies to make explaining LGBTQ+ concepts easier for young minds. 

So, I’ll share my firsthand experience and offer insights on how to explain LGBTQ to a child with confidence and empathy. Keep reading. 

9 Simple Tips To Explain LGBTQ To Your Kid

1. Define Basic Terms

Mother and Son Talking

Learning about LGBTQ+ can be easier if you explain the basics to children. 

Explain to them that gender identity is how they see and feel themselves, biological sex is about the gender of their body, and sexual orientation [1] is who they are attracted to. 

When these concepts are broken down openly and straightforwardly, it creates an opportunity for children to understand better what LGBTQ+ is.

2. Discuss Gender Identity

Explain that gender identity is each person’s perception of themselves–whether they feel male, female, some combination of both, or neither. 

Also, tell them it’s okay to express their gender however they feel fits them best. Lastly, explain that gender identity is a whole spectrum, not just two fixed categories. 

Doing this will create a sense of acceptance and make sure everyone is respected, regardless of gender identity.

3. Use Simple Language

To explain LGBTQ+ to a child, it is best to use simple language. Aim to explain gender and sexuality in terms of feelings, and everyone’s right to unique expressions. 

Talk in user-friendly terms, avoiding technical words so the child can easily understand. But how will you celebrate Pride Month at home?

4. Promote Empathy & Acceptance

When talking to kids about the LGBTQ+ community, they must learn to empathize and accept others as they are. 

Ask them to picture what it might be like to be treated unfairly or hear bullies comment negatively about them or someone they care about. 

Explain that everyone deserves kindness and respect, regardless of beliefs or sexual orientation, and that acceptance of different people should be part of life. 

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5. Teach About Discrimination Or Bullying

Mother and Daughter Talking

Let the children know that being different can lead to being maltreated, and then explain why this is wrong. 

“While as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.” 

Anderson Cooper, American Broadcaster

Stress how words, jokes, and comments can hurt and how everyone deserves respect regardless of gender or orientation.

Kids should be encouraged to build an inclusive environment, and we can work towards a future where discrimination and bullying [2] are not tolerated.

6. Use Personal Examples

Using actual people that you know is a great strategy for explaining LGBTQ+ to a kid. 

Assuming you know someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, it would be a great time to reassure the young person by letting them know they are not alone. 

By including real people in conversation, it helps to make the situation relatable to the child and helps them to understand.

Check out the simple ideas to celebrate Pride Month at school here.

7. Use Analogies

Connect a concept that kids already know with a new, unfamiliar one. 

For instance, you could mention that the same way apples can be red, green, or yellow, someone’s gender identity can go beyond the classic male and female. 

“Explaining LGBTQ+ to a child is like opening a window to a world beyond stereotypes, allowing them to soar with the wings of understanding and embrace the extraordinary stories that make us who we are.”

Howkapow Gift Site

Talk in simple terms and make it easy to comprehend by relating it to things a kid is already comfortable with. 

8. Show Different Family Types

Image Of Two Dads Carrying Their Kids

When educating a child about LGBTQ+, one of the most beneficial techniques is to show them different types of families. 

Introducing them to families with two moms, two dads, or single parents is a great way to show the child that families can be loving and supportive regardless of the family structure. 

Related Post: Basic Tips To Discuss Pride Month To A Child

FAQs

What should you avoid saying when your child comes out?

It’s essential to avoid saying anything that could dismiss or invalidate your child’s identity, such as “It’s just a phase.”
 
Avoid making hasty judgments on your child’s sexuality and do not question their decision or offer unsolicited advice.

What should you do if your daughter wishes to be a boy?

It’s important to support your daughter’s exploration of her gender identity. 
If your daughter decides to transition, you must talk with her about the decision and help her understand the steps she has to take to do it safely.

What to do if your son wishes to become a woman?

Have an open, honest conversation with your son about why they feel this way and provide supportive resources and guidance. 

Final Thoughts

Explaining LGBTQ+ concepts to a child requires a delicate balance of simplicity, empathy, and honesty. Start by defining basic terms, using language that resonates with their understanding. 

Talk about the concept of gender identity while pointing out that people can take on various appearances, have varying levels of empathy, and be attracted to many different people.  

Encourage questions and create a safe space for open dialogue. Utilize stories and media to normalize diversity and teach empathy. 

Above all, emphasize the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect. 

By following these principles, you can help foster a generation of compassionate and inclusive individuals who celebrate the beautiful tapestry of human identity.

References:

  1. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/sexual-orientation.html
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/lgbtq-youth-are-still-experiencing-high-rates-of-bullying-in-person-and-online#The-high-rate-of-bullying-experienced-by-LGBTQ-youth
Kimberlee Johnson
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