Advice

So, You have a Gender Diverse Child? Me Too! Here’s My Best Advice

The world is opening up and people are feeling more comfortable expressing themselves. It’s not a secret that we live in a binary world and anything that doesn’t fit inside that, is sometimes difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

But when it comes to gender identity, sexuality, or relationship choices etc, we don’t have to understand to be supportive. This is especially true when it comes to our kids. As the parent of a gender diverse nonbinary child, here are a few insights I’ve learned along the way that might help a parent new to this wade these waters a little easier.

What is nonbinary?

Nonbinary is defined as someone who doesn’t identify as male or female. Some might feel like they are a mix of both genders, or neither. They might be nonbinary their entire lives, or their gender identity might change as they grow.

Your child may also refer to themselves as enby, beyond the binary, genderfree or other synonyms.

What is transgender?

Transgender means an individual who doesn’t identify with the sex assigned to them at birth.

Isn’t my kid too young to make this decision?

Most of us have the privilege of never having to question our identity. But for those who do come out as nonbinary, there is no minimum age bracket. As soon as someone is self-aware and has the vocabulary to verbalise how they see themselves, they can say it.

And honestly…if a child is too young to know they are gender diverse, by the same logic they are too young to know they’re not.

Kids shouldn’t be having surgery.

Kids are not having surgery. Some gender diverse people do choose to have surgery on parts of their bodies to bring their physical form into line with how they feel, but this doesn’t happen before eighteen and certainly doesn’t happen on a whim. Hormone therapy is something that might be discussed with a professional and is nowhere near as scary as the internet makes it out to be.

Children with precocious puberty (going through puberty at a very young age like 3 or 4 for example) are given hormone blockers to prevent puberty until they are older. None of these steps are taken without consultations with doctors and psychologists.

They/Them are plural and confusing.

We use they/them as a singular pronoun every single day and don’t realise it. It only seems to be an issue when someone asks to be referred to as they/them.

“Someone from the bank called.” … “Oh, what did they want?”

“The new teacher starts tomorrow.” … “I wonder if we’ll like them.”

“My doctor called about my results.” … “What did they say?”


*Storytime*

I have a seventeen-year-old. They were 12 when they told me they were bisexual. 14 when they told me they were gay. Around this time, they started questioning their identity in relation to gender. During a mental health appointment, they told me they thought they might be transgender. The counsellor asked me what I thought, and I said I didn’t think they were, but would support them anyway and if any of my kids were going to be trans, it would be my oldest.

The counsellor asked me why I thought this, and I replied that it was easy. I know my kids. And it turns out I was right. After some self-reflection, my teenager came to me and told me they didn’t think they were trans, but they were nonbinary. My response was ‘okay’.

My oldest, who I told the counsellor would be the one to be trans if any of my kids were, is now 23 years old. She told me she is trans two years ago. My response was, again, ‘okay’. We talked about if they would be using a new name, if they would pursue surgery, what their pronouns are and if they needed anything from me when they are ready to tell the rest of the family.

And that’s all there was to it. I make a conscientious effort to remember their preferred pronouns and try to use more gender-neutral terms and add a bit of humour. Sometimes I’ll use peeps, folks, offspring, fruit of my womb, progeny etc.

I brought my children into this world and that is where my involvement in how they define themselves ends. It’s not only my job, but my privilege to love, accept and support them for who they are. I don’t need to understand their journey, I just need to walk it with them. It is not their job to tone themselves down to make other people feel more comfortable.

Frankly, as long as my kids are living their lives happily and not harming anyone else, the rest is gravy.


So how do you support your gender diverse child when the whole world seems to be against their existence?

You educate yourself.

Whether your child is nonbinary, trans, gay or any letter in the LGBT alphabet, you get educated. There are so many legitimate, unbiased resources online to help you be the best parent and ally you can be.

You love your child.

They haven’t stopped being the smart, goofy, serious, sweet, or rambunctious person they’ve always been. They are simply a more authentic version of themselves because they don’t have to hide who they are.

You show your support.

Make sure they know you support them and don’t judge them. If you struggle with words, show it in actions.

Take them shopping for clothes that more reflect who they are. Change their name on the family birthday calendar. Give them or make them gender-neutral greeting cards. Introduce them by their pronouns to people. Correct people if they get it wrong.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get it perfect right away. Mistakes happen. You’ve been calling your child Sarah for sixteen years and now they’re asking you to call them Phoenix. It’s an adjustment. But honestly, as long as your child knows you accept and support them, and that you’re trying, the occasional accidental slip-up will most likely be ok. Especially if you catch it and self-correct.

You activate Mumma Bear mode often. 

The world is not the nicest place for people who don’t fit the mould of what society says is ‘normal’. People will say stupid things. People will say mean things. People will make jokes at your kids’ expense and expect you to laugh with them.

This is when your child needs you to be their protector and advocate. But don’t overstep. I am confident my children can handle the haters. But I also know if they can’t, they know I will.


Gender-diverse kids have high rates of attempted and successful suicides and the main cause of this is non-acceptance by their family. Validating your child’s identity can literally be lifesaving. Our kids didn’t ask to be born, but from the second they were, they count on us to be their safe space. Acceptance saves lives.

I’ll repeat this point again and again to anyone who disparages my child, or someone else…you don’t have to understand to support.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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