Supporting Gender-Nonbinary Teens
Gender-nonbinary teens are a growing population, and for many parents, it can be overwhelming to know how best to show their support. Here are a few ways to create an accepting and supportive environment for gender-nonbinary teens.
Encourage Gender Identity Self-Exploration
First, it’s important for parents to encourage their gender-nonbinary teen to explore their gender identity in a safe and compassionate environment. Allow your teen to experiment with different clothes, hair styles, or makeup to help them feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. Show your support by remaining nonjudgmental and listening to your teen’s feelings without trying to tell them how they should feel.
Once your teen has found an identity they feel comfortable with, it’s important to help ensure that they’re respected by those around them. Introduce them as you would anyone else, including their preferred pronouns and name. If your teen has chosen a new name and pronouns that they want to be used by family and friends, respect their decision and work to reinforce it.
It’s important for you to stay aware of the issues and adversity that gender-nonbinary teens may face. Be aware of the unique medical needs of transgender individuals and the importance of supportive medical professionals. It’s helpful for parents to stay current on safety issues and resources for the LGBTQ+ community in your local teen community.
Validate Their Feelings
Most importantly, make sure your gender-nonbinary teen knows that their feelings are valid and that it’s okay to express them. Offer them a safe space where they can express their gender identity without fear of judgment or alienation. Make sure they know that they always have your support and that you are there to help them along their journey.
Show Love and Support
Finally, the best way to show your support is to make sure your gender-nonbinary teen knows how much they are loved. Show them affection and acceptance no matter what. Let them know that you are here to support them and answer any questions they have.
Supporting gender-nonbinary teens is important to ensuring their growth, happiness, and safety. With understanding and a safe place, gender-nonbinary teens can be free to explore their identity and live authentically.