Does your little girl identify more with Bob the Builder than Elsa from Frozen? Does your little boy have an affinity for Dora the Explorer backpacks?
According to Planned Parenthood, those stereotypical micro-identities don’t identity tots as transgender or gay – but you should support them and keep them safe, however they want to “express” themselves.
In an article “How do I talk with my preschooler about identity” – one of a series of directives aimed at how parents of preschoolers should educate them on sex and sexuality, gender identity, and pregnancy and reproduction – Planned Parenthood claims part of its purpose is to teach parents “how to know if your kid is transgender.”
Some signs your toddler might be transgender are that they are “consistent,” “insistent,” and persistent,” apparently in regards to the identity they were not born with, the article says, but lacks studies, statistics or sources for its recommendations.
Toys and clothes, decorations and entertainment provided a preschooler also play a part in how they think about gender, according to Planned Parenthood, because most children identify “strongly” with a gender by the time they are three years old.
How parents talk around their children is important as well, Planned Parenthood “experts” said, especially when it comes to marriage and sexual orientation.
Talking to (or in front of) your daughter about growing up and having boyfriends or marrying a man (and vice versa) sends the message that girls are supposed to like boys, and boys are supposed to like girls, and that anything else is wrong or not normal.
While kids this young don’t know their sexual orientation yet, assuming they’re straight could make them scared to come to you or feel bad about themselves later. This can lead to mental health issues, unhealthy relationships, and taking more health risks when they reach their teenage years.
The guide comes in contrast to earlier Planned Parenthood advice, “Talking to Kids about Sex and Sexuality,” that offered very general information about biological body parts when speaking with preschoolers, and excluded any information about gender identity.
The new article urges parents speak directly to their children if they suspect they might be “transgender or gender expansive.”
“Ask them if they’re a boy or a girl, and how they know that to be true,” Planned Parenthood instructs. “If they are transgender, giving them the power to wear what they want, have the haircut they want, and even use a name that reflects their gender are all going to be really important for them to feel safe, especially once they start going to school.”
Other articles and links on the website offer similar information for elementary, middle and high school age children and teenagers.
— Joni B. Hannigan is an award-winning writer, editor, teacher, PR specialist, and the author of thousands of news and feature articles. She is also an accomplished photojournalist. In 2015 Joni won the Frank Burkhalter Award in Religious Newswriting at the Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition. She is a U.S. Navy veteran. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook
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