Supporting Gender-Nonconforming Teens
Gender-nonconforming teens face unique challenges in their lives, but they can get all the support they need with the right understanding and approach from family, friends, and professionals. If you’re looking for ways to help a gender-nonconforming teen in your life, here are some tips:
Be an Accepting Emotional Space
Gender-nonconforming teens can feel overwhelmed, scared, or overwhelmed by their gender identity. It’s important to offer them a space to be emotionally supported and accepted. Listen to them without judgement and offer your understanding and compassion. Respect their pronouns and their preferred name if it’s different from the one they were given at birth.
Talk About Resources
Inform yourself about the resources available to gender-nonconforming teens. This could mean researching local support groups, medical and mental health professionals, and exploring information about gender-affirming healthcare and legal rights. Letting teens know what kinds of support and services are available can help them find the right help and support.
Gender-affirming self-expression is an important part of coming to terms with one’s gender identity and embracing it. Encourage gender-nonconforming teens to express themselves in whatever ways make them feel comfortable. This could mean going by certain pronouns or changing their style or presentation. It’s all about providing them with the space and freedom to explore, express, and determine their own identity.
Join the Gender Community
There are many websites and online groups for gender-nonconforming teens that can serve as a valuable source of support and information. Encourage the teen in your life to join a community or at least explore online resources to normalize their experience, find support, and learn more about the gender-affirming movement.
It’s important to be a role model of self-acceptance for a gender-nonconforming teen. Talk openly and positively about gender identity and expression and show that you are comfortable discussing it. Participate in gender-affirming conversations, challenge gender stereotypes, and celebrate nonconformity.
These are just some of the many ways to support gender-nonconforming teens. Ultimately, it’s all about providing them with the acceptance, understanding, and support they need to explore their identity and feel comfortable in their own skin. In doing so, you can create a safe and affirming space for them to navigate their gender journey.