How to Explain Transgender Basics to Kids with Simple Words

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Finally! Transgender people are being recognized and (slowly) accepted.

But along with that happy news, comes natural curiosity from kids. They need help understanding what it means to be transgender.

Here is our suggestion for explaining it simply, without making it sound scary.

Explain transgender basics - what kind of words should I use?

The best way to explain transgenderism to kids is to keep it simple. All they need to know is that when someone is transgender, their brain is telling them one thing but their body parts don’t match what their brain is telling them. It’s not a flaw; it’s just a cell-growth mix-up that can happen at birth.

Here's a simple way to put it:

‘Transgender people’s inner thoughts don’t match their outside parts.’

For example, maybe someone consistently thinks to themself:

‘Wow that dress is really pretty. I wish I could wear it.’

But that person has a penis so they can't say it out loud ever because everyone assumes they’re a boy and shouldn’t wear dresses. 

Explain transgender basics - we're all the same, but different

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The most important thing for your child to learn about transgender people is that they're exactly the same as everyone else, except that their brain and their body parts don't match.

You can remind them that everyone―not just transgender peopleis born with traits that make them different from other people. That's a good thing!

Here are some words you could use to make your point:

“We're all different from each other. We should always accept people for how they are and make sure they feel safe and included. It's never okay to make people feel sad or left out just because the look different than we do.”

Offer as many words of encouragement as you can here. Try to get your child involved in the conversation so they feel like they're part of a larger discussion about treating people fairly.

The odds of your child wanting to learn more will be much greater if they feel confident enough to participate in a mutual conversation.

TIP: There will be inconvenient times when your child wants to ask you something about transgenderism―like when you’re working, reading, or talking with someone else. Either make the time then or ask your him/her to remember their thoughts so they can share with you later.

Keep talking about transgenderism as they grow

It's wonderful that you're taking time to learn how to effectively explain the basics of transgenderism to your child. It's a huge step forward. But it doesn't stop there.

Continue examining your own biases and educating yourself about how to talk to your child about uncomfortable subjects. If they consider you a good source of consistent, honest, accurate information, they'll continue coming to you with more and more serious questions as they grow.

If you don't know the answer, admit it, and look it up together.

Keep going! 

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