Twitter Tells Me

Once again, I have turned to my trusty twitter followers to provide content for this blog.

ThereminJelly: How do you explain a concept like ‘homosexuality’ or ‘transsexual’ to a child? Currently relevant to my interests.

Having no children and no friends with children, my knowledge of them is extremely poor. However, having had friends of the family who were gay or gender variant since childhood, I can say that these concepts are not as foreign to a child as most people think. We as adults are stuck so deeply in our culture that we forget that this was all taught to us. Children don’t know the rules yet, they don’t have much experience of the world beyond that they are told by their parents and teachers. So explaining homosexual or transgender people to children is actually easier than explaining them to some adults, and not just because “I said so” is still a valid argument with children.

In my experience, it’s good to make comparisons. By comparing unknown things to known things, there is a better transfer of information. “Uncle Marc is with Uncle John the way that Mom is with Dad, or the way that Dad wants to be with nice Ms. Cindy down the block.” No need to go into the fact that mom also wants to be with nice Ms. Cindy. That’s a conversation for another time. A time when you both drink wine.

“Cousin Gerald was born with a birth defect. Yes, the birth defect is sort of like the one that Sally from school has, but while Sally from school has a flipper arm, Cousin Gerald is missing some of the things that most men are born with. What things? Oh you remember the birds and the bees talk? Those things. Stop making that face, it’s not gross. Your cousin is not gross, he’s nice. Yes, remember when he bought you that toy you like? And how he always plays video games with you on thanksgiving? Good.”

There will probably be the dreaded “MY COUSIN IS MISSING HIS PENIS!” moment in the most inappropriate place, I hear children do that. Don’t worry, they’re expected to be strange.

Of course it helps to have queers around naturally as part of your family and community. Although some of us are not blessed with a community of diversity, we can take steps to attend a social group like a church or something that has diversity in it.