Being a parent these days is as complicated as ever. Kids are always asking “Why?” when anything interesting comes up, and it seems like we are seeing more and more interesting things become normal. Many parents disregard their children’s questions, not wanting to expose them to ideas that they may or may not be ready for. Others choose to be open with their kids and give them all the answers, but perhaps those kids grow up a bit too quickly.
When it comes to the topic of gender fluidity and transsexuality, it is understandable for parents to shy away and want to keep their kids separate – but one LGBTQ activist has something to say about a purely negative reaction.
Jacob Tobia is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights and has written for MTV, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Tobia recently wrote a letter to Buzzfeed as a reaction to negative experiences with kids and gender fluidity.
Tobia was at a queer conference in Orlando recently when he realized something peculiar. Half the hotel was filled with others in the LGBTQ community, while the other half was filled with nuclear families with little kids. The families had come to see Disney World, but Tobia had not.
The 26-year-old activist described how kids would point out the uniqueness of the queer community, saying things like, “Look that boy is wearing lipstick!” Parents would apparently avoid the question, likely telling them that it was improper or weird later on in the privacy of their hotel.
We live in a free country, where you are able to make your own opinions and freely share them without fear of repercussions – and we need to keep it that way. LGBTQ folk like Jacob are just asking for acceptance rather than outright disgust.
“You can do better than that. You have to do better. You owe it to me, to the trans community, and to your kids emotional development to do better,” Tobia wrote for Buzzfeed.
No matter how much you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, as long as it isn’t negatively affecting the people around them there really isn’t anything you have a right to say. We are free to share our opinions and biases with our kids, but Jacob is describing how that sort of insider teaching can stunt your child’s emotional growth as a person.
Jacob describes the proper way to respond to a question like that from your child, saying that a more open response will be better for their kids in the long run.
“Why yes, Sarah, She is wearing a bowtie. Girls and boys can both wear bowties. Would you like one?” Tobia gave as an example.
For older folks that come from a more conservative generation, discussions like these are hard to have when people are set in their ways. We are all free to think and feel however we want to, but it’s important to teach our children and future generations that they shouldn’t have preconceived notions and judgements about the people around them.
What do you think about Jacob’s request for respect in public? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments!