How to Support the Transgender and Non-binary Kids in Your Life

I’m frequently asked about different ways to support transgender and non-binary youth. Parents want to do the right thing but can feel unsure about what that means. Adults working with kids who aren’t their own (teachers, coaches, counselors, therapists) balance between empowerment and maintaining healthy boundaries. The advice people typically expect are tips around direct interactions. Things like effective interventions for bullying and respecting pronouns; important day-to-day resources. I can (and do) talk about these things all day. There are so many strategies for developing inclusion and supporting kids along their journey. My advice comes with an expansion pack. Because supporting L

It’s 2018 - Stop “Shoulding” All Over Yourself

It’s my new favorite expression. The last few weeks have been full of ads for gym memberships, healthy eating websites, and other reminders that January is the annual “reset” button for life choices. People are inundated with what they should be doing. We should stop doing this, or should start doing that. Instead of rushing toward what we love, we’re encouraged to shape ourselves into false obligations (faux-bligations, you’re welcome). So, how can a checklist of “shoulds” in January translate to success in July? Glad you asked. Follow me. Setting big, bold goals is part of the exciting possibility that comes with a new year. The new year brings opportunity to evaluate and reflect on life.

Consent is Required. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be awkward.

I get a lot of questions about talking to kids and adolescence about consent. As adults, we tend to make things way more complicated than they need to be. It comes from having 40-ish years of life experience that we bring to problem solving. Consent, personal boundaries, and bodily agency are things we start teaching kids very early on. All the conversations about their body, “good” vs “bad” touches, not being forced to hug or kiss relatives—each of these is shaping the child’s concept of consent. Teaching kids about respecting other people’s boundaries and privacy is also a form of consent. Don’t walk in the bathroom without knocking first—this is consent. Where things can get dicey for par

An Open Letter to Representative Tom Brinkman on Ohio House Bill 658

“Parents have the right to decide what is best for their children,” says Ohio Rep. Tom Brinkman. Last May Tom Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger introduced legislation that would, among other things, compel teachers to ‘out’ transgender students. After seeing headlines popping up all over social media, I wanted to read the full text of HB 658 for myself. It didn’t get any better. The bill is stated to prevent a parent’s refusal to support gender-based treatment from being a considering factor when determining custody. Additionally, there are provisions that address responsibilities and limitations of a “government agent or entity” when a child appears to be gender non-conforming. Beyond that, this

An Open Letter to Parents – Processing After Your Child Comes Out

I was chatting with a parent recently when she casually mentioned that her daughter had just come out as non-binary. While the disclosure came as a surprise to Mom, she felt equipped with enough information to support her kiddo. The question was more about approaching extended family, who may be less accepting. “I was worried they’d think it was something I had done, or not done, that caused this.” So much to unpack here; fortunately, we had plenty of time and coffee. I talked with her about the coming out process. Most of this discussion centers on the person who is disclosing; rightly so, this is a big step. Even in the most supportive homes, coming out to one’s family brings with it an el

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