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Transgender issues are all over the news right now. And if you didn’t grow up learning about trans identities and experiences, it may all feel a bit uncomfortable and confusing. So in honor of Transgender Awareness Week, let’s get into the facts about gender identity and trans kids, so you feel ready as a parent or caregiver to think about your values and how you want to support your child, whether they’re trans or not.

FACT: Research shows that gender identity, for everyone, is formed in the toddler years.

  • As soon as your kid is able to understand the concept of gender, they will tell you their gender. To create a  safer space, you might consider asking directly: “Are you a boy or a girl?” — and being open to whatever answer they give you. Note: If you tell them they’re wrong, it will NOT change their gender identity (see fact below), but it could make them worry they’re not lovable the way they are.

FACT: Being transgender is not contagious. It is who they are.

  • If your child has a  friend or teacher who is transgender, spending time with them or talking about what it means to be trans will not make your kid trans. If your kid is transgender, it’s because that is naturally who they are.

FACT: More trans youth are comfortable coming out now than ever before.

  • Did you know that in the 1970s when adults stopped forcing all kids to learn how to be  right-handed there was a huge surge in left-handed kids? It eventually leveled off. But the point is, the change in expectations did not encourage children to choose being lefties. It happened because lefties were allowed to be themselves. The same is true today of trans kids.

FACT: When trans youth have an adult in their life who supports them, they are far less likely to be suicidal.

  • We can all agree that, as parents and caregivers, nothing matters more than our kids' safety. If your child is trans, love and acceptance goes a long way toward helping to keep them safe from self harm.

If you’re new to all this and you feel overwhelmed or lost on how to address gender identity or trans issues at home, Planned Parenthood has got your back. Our Parents pages can help no matter how old your child is. And if you’re wondering if your child is transgender, we’ve got some help for you too.

Tags: transgender, parenting, gender identity

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