Give Trans Kids Privacy and Affirmation
All of us are real people who engage with other real people’s real concerns as they come up. Our interactions aren’t scripted. We can respond specifically to whatever’s going on. Life’s better that way. I wrote about this a while back in a long essay, “How to Reduce Your Anxiety Over the Idea of Trans Kids.”
As I explained there: We can be aware of people’s gender without trying to manage it. Especially when we’re thinking of a real child’s gender but we’re not in a position of responsibility for them, imagining we can control their gender is a way of fruitlessly negotiating our own role in their lives, and we’re ultimately saying more about what we think of ourselves. Similarly, when we don’t have any observations about any particular child, we shouldn’t try to control their gender. We would be trying to control an archetypal Transgender Child, and again that says more about who we believe we are than about the fantasy trans child we’re imagining.
In other words, if this is your child to care for, you’ll have real discussions about whatever real issues they face, connected with the reality of who they are. You may lessen your anxiety about your idea of a trans child if you just deal directly with whatever the reality is. Whereas, if you have no authority over anything whatsoever in the child’s life — including when they do not even exist except in your imagination — it is unlikely that you need to chime in about how to control their transness. All the same, no need to be anxious about them.
Don’t Be Anxious About Trans Kids: 2 More Permutations
Last week, the California state Assembly passed two bills that are now headed to the governor’s desk. One would seal the petitions of minors who request to legally change their name and gender, meaning the public can’t ever see that the person made this request, so the person (as a child and future adult) will be better able to keep their gender history private if they wish. The other would affect child custody and visitation cases for separating or divorcing parents by requiring the judge to consider parents’ attitudes toward their child’s gender.