How to Reduce Your Anxiety Over the Idea of Trans Kids

Look at that ‘idea’, and change your assumptions about it

Tucker Lieberman
13 min readFeb 3, 2023

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person in a kayak
Kayaker by Jamie Johannsen from Pixabay

While a kid is small, the parent ensures that the kid wears clothes and socializes with other kids. Gradually, the parent backs off and gives the child more autonomy as the child decides what to wear and whom to befriend. The parent may even stop making comments on these matters.

A child’s gender affects decisions made by or about the child. Sometimes the child expresses gender differently than the parent expected them to, and this may make decisions a little more complicated.

All parents have assumptions, principles, uncertainties, questions, etc. — in short, ideas—about their child’s gender; if the child might be gender nonconforming, nonbinary, or trans, the parent has specific ideas about that, to the extent that it affects their child.

That seems obvious to me. Here, I’m not wondering why parents might feel anxious about a specific question involving their own child.

I’m asking instead why many adults—especially people who do not have a trans child—develop a deep-seated, long-lasting anxiety at the general observation that trans kids exist in the world, and why they assume they need to take some philosophical position on it, social intervention to manage it, or political action against it.

How to Be Anxious About the Idea of Trans Kids

If you want to spend many unproductive years feeling anxious that you don’t know what to do about the existence of trans kids, start by making these assumptions.

Of course, I really mean that you shouldn’t make these assumptions.

Have a look and see if any sound familiar:

  • Adults control children. Not only in the sense that a parent carries an infant because the infant can’t walk and doesn’t know where it wants or needs to go, but in the sense of a general prerogative for adults to exert power over children just because they can, beyond what’s necessary to take care of the child. People of all ages control children by upholding the idea that everyone above the arbitrarily selected age of majority is inherently responsible for or entitled to…

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/