June 2019 is Pride Month, annually observed every June, to stand against discrimination and violence towards the LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual) community, more commonly known as LGBTQ+.

As parents, this is relevant, because, by starting an ongoing dialogue with your child about sexual orientation and gender identity, you are teaching them the value of empathy, and respect for others. Not only that, you are leaving the metaphorical door open for them to approach you for future conversations of this nature, or if they become a part of the community in future.

Sex and gender are not the same. Sex is determined by biological differences between male and female owing to genitalia, whereas gender is a more gray area, being difficult to define. While a person may be born with female or male genitalia, they may not identify themselves as that gender with regards to their sexual and societal identity.

Yes, it can be daunting to have this conversation with your children. In fact, most parents shy away from these conversations because of the incorrect notion that this will lead to discussions about sex, which maybe age inappropriate. This is in fact, a time for self reflection and education on the part of the parents. These discussions create a positive parenting experience and environment that embrace differences, encourage curiosity and nurture respect.

So, how can you talk to your child about these concepts?

  • Start early – Be open and keep having discussions, while modifying them age appropriately as child becomes older.
  • Listen – Pay attention to what your child has understood so far and what they are asking you.
  • Be Honest – Encourage your child to keep asking questions, be truthful if you don’t know the answers, and answer questions in as much detail as you can considering their age.
  • Keep it as an ongoing dialogue – This is not a one and done lecture; the topic is more complicated and vast than that. Keep answering questions that crop up along the way.
  • Keep your judgements out of it – Provide information without being judgemental.