September 4, 2023

Focus On Parenting A LGBTQ+ Child With Special Guest Lindz Amer

This is a special episode in which Leslie is joined by guest Lindz Amer (they/them) to talk about their work within the LGBTQ+ community.

Leslie and Lindz talk about various topics regarding being a caretaker and ally to LGBTQ+ children. Last week’s episode was about parenting Jack, a transgender child. Leslie wanted to have Lindz on the podcast to further discuss the important ways we can create a safe and validating environment for LGBTQ+ children.:

About today’s guest: Lindz created their award-winning LGBTQ+ family webseries Queer Kid Stuff in 2016 which now has 4M lifetime views and counting! They are the author of the nonfiction parenting book Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide to Raising Queer Kids and Their Allies (St. Martin’s Press) and their picture book Hooray for She, He, Ze and They! What are YOUR Pronouns Today? (Simon & Schuster, February 2024). Currently they host the Rainbow Parenting Podcast and perform at school and libraries across the country, while writing and consulting for children’s television. You can watch their viral TED talk on why kids need to learn about gender and sexuality. See Links below for these resources and more information

Show Note Links 

Leslie-ism: Take a look at the assumptions you are making about your child that may not even be true.

Credits: Is My Child a Monster is produced by Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, and Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Theme music is by L-Ray Music. Public relations is handled by Tink Media. Graphics and Website Design by Brien O’Reilly. by Eric Rubury. A special thanks to everyone who contributes their wisdom and support to make this possible.

TRANSCRIPT OF SHOW:

0:03  Lindz Amer:  It can be really hard to be queer and trans in this world. But I think we just forget that happiness is so possible when we’re living authentically and we’re helping our children live authentically.

0:22  Leslie Cohen-Rubury:  This is, Is My Child A Monster?, a parenting therapy podcast, where you get to listen in as real parents and caregivers share their trials and tribulations in therapy sessions recorded live. I’m your host, Leslie Cohen-Rubury. I’m a parent and a therapist with 37 years of experience helping families navigate this question. 

So, last week, we met May, who is raising a trans non binary child. We had only one session with her. But I think it’s such an important topic that we decided to spend another episode focused on the unique challenges of parenting LGBTQ+ kids. And to help us do that is author, creator, and trans adult who makes queer stuff for kids, Lindz Amer. In 2016, Lindz created the award-winning LGBTQ+ family web series called, Queer Kid Stuff, which has more than 4 million views. They are the author of the nonfiction parenting book, Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide To Raising Queer Kids And Their Allies. And their picture book, Hooray For She, He, Ze, and They! What Are Your Pronouns Today? comes out in February of next year. They also host the Rainbow Parenting podcast, and perform at schools and libraries across the country, while writing and consulting for children’s television. You can watch their viral TED talk on why kids need to learn about gender and sexuality and learn more about their work at queerkidstuff.com. I’m delighted to welcome Lindz to the show today. 

Leslie:  Thank you so much for being here with me today, Lindz.

2:21  Lindz:  Hello, thank you so much for having me. Great to be here.

2:24  Leslie:  Fantastic. Will you start off by telling us a bit about your work and what led you to it?

2:31  Lindz:  For sure. Just in a nutshell, I make queer stuff for kids. That’s kind of what I do. I started a web series in 2016 called Queer Kid Stuff that really came out of my background in theater for young audiences. And just like being a queer person and being on my journey and figuring that out as I was building out my craft and my artistry. And so I came up with the idea for queer kid stuff. And it’s basically LGBTQ+ education for preschoolers. I really say, it’s all ages work. And that kind of blew up and became a thing, and has reached millions of families all over the world. And I’ve kind of been doing that ever since in a lot of different ways. I have written books, I consult and write for preschool television, I run my own business where I go to schools and libraries and community organizations all over the country. I do Rainbow Storytime through Zoom. I do a lot of stuff just kind of around that one thing—making queer stuff for kids, and then kind of explaining why I do it to grownups.

3:42  Leslie:  Wow. Well, I think it sounds like you love your work. [Laughter]

Lindz:  I really do. 

Leslie:  And isn’t that fantastic? And at the same time, I imagine there’s some challenges.

3:53   Lindz:  Oh, for sure. I mean, I started the web series in 2016, which was obviously the year that Trump was elected president. And it blew up on, like, the best and worst sides of the internet. One of the first publications to pick up any kind of press about us was the Daily Stormer, which is a neo-Nazi website. So I’ve definitely been through the wringer with it. 

Basically, what’s happening in national discourse right now about anti-trans legislation and book bans, and all this stuff was happening in my comment section in 2016, 2017, 2018. And it’s been very interesting to kind of see that blow up into this larger discourse that we’re all part of, and we’re having this conversation. And yeah, it’s been quite a ride, but I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. Hence, writing my book, Rainbow Parenting.

4:42  Leslie:  Excellent. Well, can you give us a little Rainbow Parenting 101? I mean, can you give us a little bit of your philosophy?

4:49  Lindz:  Yeah, for sure. So it’s called, Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide To Raising Queer Kids And Their Allies, and that just came out end of May this year, 2023. And it’s really just about how to create a queer and gender affirming environment for young children, raising a generation of affirmed queer and trans kids and incredible allies and their peers. And so much of that is about just disrupting the assumptions that we make around children. That we’ll assume that they’ll grow up to be cisgender and straight. And if we look at the statistics, Gen Z, one in five Gen Z kids is identifying as LGBTQ+, in some way, shape, or form. So if we’re assuming that all kids are going to be sis and straight when they grew up, it’s just statistically not true. 

So that’s really what the book is about. Because majority of us—I mean, there are some exceptions, certainly—but majority of us were raised in a world that made those assumptions and taught us to assume that, right? So the book is really all about: here’s how we can disrupt that. And here’s how we can wrestle with our internalized biases that have been ingrained in us throughout our entire lives because of the society that we live in. And here’s how we can build anew.

 6:07  Leslie:  I so appreciate that. And I love the idea that it’s challenging our assumptions. I talk a lot in my podcasts about managing expectations. And in particular, this recent episode, where I introduced May, May and I have a conversation about their trans child—I really do focus on the expectations, and helping parents. I think there’s two points, one of helping them after the fact—if a child is queer and announces…comes out that way. But more importantly—and you focus on the preschool—is setting the foundation. It’s setting a foundation. I just love that you’re focused on that. I focus on that, in many aspects. I don’t want to wait until…we want to create, as I call it, the validating environment. We want to create the inclusivity, where children feel safe. So tell us how you do that. 

7:08  Lindz:  Yeah, totally. So the book, it’s a parenting book, but it’s also really the most accessible intro-to-queer-theory book that you could probably pick up. There’s a big section in the beginning about, okay, let’s talk about the importance of this. What are the statistics on LGBTQ+ youth, because we just kind of need to get that out there. Let the statistics speak for themselves and then go through and disrupt all of those biases and assumptions that we’ve just been talking about. And then after that, it’s really kind of, we’re wading into the pool, right? We’re going to go from infancy to toddlerhood to pre-K to kindergarten and beyond; and really build what you’re saying—a foundation. 

Because we’re coming at a place where we are in society right now around queerness, and transness, where really everybody is kind of at a toddler level of understanding about these topics; because we didn’t have a lot of us, didn’t have that when we were growing up. How can I step through and explain this, explain these topics in a way that anybody can understand, including a three year old? And so I’m not going to be introducing cisgender-versus-transgender and these large vocabulary words to a two year old. We’re going to start talking about what families look like, what difference means. And that different doesn’t mean anything bad. It can be cool and awesome in its own way. We’re all different from each other. And our commonality is that we all experience and have differences from each other. So actually our difference is our most common ground as humans. 

So taking those very baby steps of like, okay, we are stripping away for the adults reading this book. We’re stripping away all of these learned…it’s just a lot of baggage that we carry around our entire lived experience as adults…experiencing our gender, experiencing the way people perceive our gender, the misogyny that comes with that, the toxic masculinity that comes with that. Everything around us is so ingrained in these gender biases, these gender roles, these gender stereotypes. And so how can we strip that down, first of all, and then take these building blocks of like, okay, binary gender is not the full picture. There are people in between their experiences, in between their experience outside, people use different pronouns. There are different kinds of families, we can talk about our bodies in different ways, gender identity versus sexuality. 

There are all of these different things. And so what I was trying to do in the book is scaffold it in a way that it just builds upon each other. And what I think is really helpful about, kind of only just storytelling, which is my background again, is it really focuses on universal truths of humanity. So when I’m talking about privilege, and intersectionality—which seemed like these really big topics to be explained to a four year old—I’m pulling them down and saying, “Okay, what we really want to talk about is fairness and justice.” And kids understand that because they understand intrinsically, emotionally, when they’re being treated unfairly. And I think it’s so interesting to have this conversation with you, because I don’t have a therapy background in any way. But I do think that my book and the work that I do does have a lot of foundation in therapeutic practices, because it’s really just about getting people out of their own way, and getting the obstacles out of just being scared to approach these topics; because I don’t know how, I’m going to say something wrong—it’s not going to be perfect. But I think the thing that the parents…and I do a lot to make sure that I framed the tone of the book of very welcoming, very accessible, you do not have to know everything, you do not have to be perfect at this, you just have to start doing it and do it with your child. And I think what I loved about hearing with your conversation was the… impressing upon them the importance of the bond with their child, and strengthening the familial bond. So I’m really excited to talk to you about this.

11:29  Leslie:  That’s great. So you were just saying…I love the binary-gender-is-not-the-full-picture. And that’s a really important concept, seeing the full picture, that’s the underlying message that I give when I work with parents is that if they’re struggling with their child, they’re not seeing the full picture. And so I love that idea. Let’s talk a little bit more about that one. Can you give us some other pieces of the puzzle, what else is out there for our children, and for parents to understand about our children?

12:07  Lindz:  This idea of binary gender, that there are girls and there are boys, and that’s it, is just not reflective of the width and breadth of humanity. And I’m not just talking now, with the language and the vocabulary that we have to describe that I’m talking about. Historically, there have been trans and non-binary people throughout history. And queer and lesbian and bisexual—these are new words that we might use for these concepts and experiences of humanity. But these people who have identified in these ways through whatever words they used, have existed as long as we’ve existed. So this is not a new idea. It’s just a new way of talking about it. 

The expansions that we’ve made technologically as humans have been all about communication, for the most part. So when I’m talking about the gender spectrum, and I like to talk about the way that I explain gender, sort of generally, to children. So I talk about gender as the way we feel about ourselves. It’s not something that’s super-easy to describe. It’s just an internal feeling, and a sense that we have about ourselves and who we are. And that’s very internal, that’s very personal. That’s a very heart-centered way of thinking about gender and gender identity.

And so that’s the internal version of it. And then there’s an external part. So we take that feeling that we have about ourselves, and we want to express it out into the world. And so there are a lot of ways that we can express that. We can express that through our physical appearance, we can express it through our hairstyle, through our clothes, through the words that we use for ourselves, our pronouns, our names, the way we walk through the world, sometimes our behaviors—a lot of those can be gendered and can be coded as gender. So we have this internal gender identity, and we have the external gender expression. And what I like to talk about with kids is…I don’t necessarily speak about it quite in this way, but we’re all grownups here for the moment. When those two things align, when our gender identity that we feel inside and our expression align with each other, we usually get this feeling called gender euphoria, this feeling of happiness. It’s something that I felt after I got top surgery, and I put on a t-shirt for the first time—I felt like who I was out in the world was reflective of who I feel I am on the inside. 

And when those two things don’t align, that’s usually what causes gender dysphoria. That’s what leads to the mental health crisis we’re in the midst of with LGBTQ+ youth, and with adults as well, and the suicide rates and everything that you’ve talked about before. And those are things that happen just in our day-to-day lives, that can cause that misalignment, or that alignment, and it so affects how we feel on a day to day basis, and how we’re able to move through the world. So that’s kind of a little small primer on gender identity, gender expression and these two feelings, gender euphoria and gender dysphoria.

15:41  Leslie:  Beautiful. And in the episode that just aired, I did notice that the parent, Mom was talking about this sudden change, like all of a sudden. And this is what parents see the—sudden change of my child. And I think that internal experience is not sudden, it is not sudden for the child. Yes, the expression of it may just show up one day, like, all of a sudden deciding to wear things that match the internal identity. But what’s very, very important is that we may not see it early on, because it’s internal. 

And it makes sense that you may not see it. So I don’t want to shame parents for, “Why didn’t you catch this?” But in terms of not seeing it, I love the conversation. I love that you start early. Because I do think parents want to hold on to that. The assumption we want them to start making is it’s: you don’t know what your child’s identity, how your child feels. And we want to give that bigger picture. So that’s the new assumption rather than the old assumption. 

The other example I was going to give is, many, many, many years ago, I’ll never forget a moment where I went up to two children, they were playing in a park, and I said, “Oh, it looks like you’re having fun with your sister.” And I made an assumption because the child had long hair. And at that moment, the child said to me, “No, I’m her brother.” And I just decided at that moment that that’s not the question I’m going to say, I’m not going to make that assumption anymore. So tell us about the changes parents need to make, which may not always be easy.

17:28  Lindz:  Yeah, for sure. Well, first of all, in that first story you were talking about of not necessarily being sudden, the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that most children have a solid understanding of their gender identity by the age of four. So that’s quite early. And also, that’s an output, right? When we’re talking about, like, they have a solid understanding of their gender identity, that’s like a coming to something, right? So in the ages leading up to that, kids are undergoing an internal and…coming up with their internal sense of self. So that is, like, four—they’ve already gone through the process of figuring out who they are in relationship with the world. It’s just at that age, four or five years old, they haven’t had the kind of societal influences yet. So when we’re saying, “Yeah, it’s not a sudden process,” I would say—if the child that you were talking about in the episode is 13 now—think back: what was that child when they were four years old? I’m curious if their expression was different, or if they could have expressed themselves if they were allowed to express themselves at that age? What was that like? Were you putting them in dresses? Were they choosing that for themselves? And asking questions about yourself, like, “Oh, okay, is this my perception that it’s sudden? Or is this something that I just haven’t been realizing?” but it’s been going on. Because when I look at photos of myself when I was four, I was so very androgynous, I got misgendered all the time, because people couldn’t tell, couldn’t perceive my gender. And that’s the kind of thing that kind of started getting to me. And when I turned 11, 12, 13 I started  trying to express myself more feminine because that’s how I thought I should be dressing. And that caused a lot of pain for me. 

And I mean, hearing in the episode that the child was starting to self harm, like that’s absolutely what I’m hearing. This wasn’t sudden at all, this is something that…this is that child’s truth, that has been there for a long time that they’ve had to hide because of, you know, trying to not-ruffle-feathers thing. It was very important to pick up on that. And then the other part of what you’re asking, what else parents need to know in all of this is, is…oh, man, there’s a lot. For me, this is…I make the work that I make, especially with queer kids stuff and the work that I do for young people, because it’s what I wish I had when I was that age. It’s the language that I wish that I had. And what’s exciting is that kids have that language now, I think, because of work like mine, because of a lot of my colleagues who are in this field who are doing fantastic work, all of the amazing LGBTQ+ picture books. There’s a lot more information out there now for young people to access. 

But that doesn’t necessarily change their immediate environment, because adults aren’t doing that same education for themselves in the way that young people are exposed to a lot of the information now. And I think it’s just about, I don’t know, we just need a world of allies. And parents, and parents are very, very much included in that because I don’t think it’s too grandiose to say, “Let’s save the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth,” and like, get rid of these statistics, because they really have not been going down, despite the raised visibility and raised exposure and education. 

21:20  Leslie: And just so everyone’s clear, would you mind sharing some of the statistics you have? 

21:24  Lindz:  Sure. So I think the biggest one that’s, I think, important to talk about is the LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. I think that’s the biggest one. And I love the one that you touched on that I think is really important, is that transgender non-binary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived. And these are mostly from the Trevor Project—they do fantastic research. But those, I think, are the two most important ones. There is proven research that we can take those numbers down. But they’re still pretty abysmal.

22:10  Leslie:  Those are very stunning statistics. Knowing both hard for us to take in, and also positive in the sense that there’s something we can do. There is something we can do. And as you said, if parents become allies…So let’s talk a little bit more about the steps parents can take, because, as I said in this episode, and we heard May–the mom—herself say that she had expectations of who her child was going to be. And so there is and I say this, really, to almost all parents, because no matter what, if you are going to have a child, you will end up thinking about your expectations for the child. And we want to look at parents and say, “Okay, you might need to grieve, and let go of that expectation.” So your child can actually become who they are, not who you think they should be, or who you want them to be for their own sake. It’s not even though you think it’s for their sake, it’s letting your child be who they are, may involve some grief for parents. So those are big feelings for parents. 

And I’m just so curious if you’ve heard from parents about: what do they share, what should they not share? When they’re going through that this mom talks a little bit when they had a conversation with Jack, about how they were adjusting and the adjustment, they wanted to adjust, and they love their child, and that they need time. So what are the things that may be affirming to a child whose parent does need to make a change, to become the ally of the child, who the child is?

23:58  Lindz:  I think the conversation is, “Thank you for sharing that with me. I love you, beyond anything. I want to take some time to process this for myself, it might take me a moment. And I ask that you be patient with me, I’m going to respect what you’ve asked me to do…” if they’ve asked you to do anything and make any changes, “…I’m going to work on that immediately and make that change as best as I can understand that I might make some mistakes, and please correct me if I slip up. Pleased do that because I want this to be a space for you. But just know I might need a little bit of time, a little bit of space, to process this on my own because I have my own feelings that are not your job. And that is my job to handle my stuff about it. But I love you first and foremost—that is all you need to know.

24:55  Leslie:  That’s great. That really aligns with what I shared with the parent and helping parents realize that not everything they feel is what the child needs to be dealing with. 

25:11   Lindz:  I totally agree. It’s not that child’s job to unpack your homophobia and transphobia. They get enough of that from the rest of the world. And having to deal with, I mean, I had to deal with my own internalized homophobia and transphobia, as I was coming out—that’s a huge part of coming out of the closet, and coming to terms with your own identity. And to have to bear the burden and the weight of someone else’s journey in that is just really, really difficult, and should not be anything a child has to deal with, with their own parents in their own home. 

And so I think that that is something that can be…something that’s really hard. And for a young person who doesn’t have the lived experience to be able to navigate their own boundaries in that way to know what is my emotional work versus what is your emotional work. And that’s something that I’m still figuring out as an adult, too. That’s a hard lesson to learn as you grow older, and mature. And that is a responsibility of a parent, I believe, of like, “Okay, I need to be an adult in this moment, and handle my own stuff.” Because it’s hard enough to be queer and trans in this world, and to be a queer and trans kid in this world right now, with so much stuff happening. And we need to be able to have safe spaces and safe people in our lives. And if you’re already projecting your stuff onto that kid, then you’re not making yourself safe for them. 

26:56   Leslie:  Beautiful. And that brings to mind just reminding parents to listen, the power of listening to your child, which is what you started—”I’m here I’m listening.” And the effort, that what you said—I just want to reiterate and reinforce—that idea that parents when they say, “I love you, and I hear what you want me to do, and I’m going to start doing it and may not be perfect.” So it’s not about perfectionism, it’s about effort. When your child, when you say, “I just used the wrong pronoun, let me change that,” you self correct. Or you say, “I want help,” and you start to become just a little bit more aware, two things happen. One, I think you feel empowered, because you’re growing as a human being. And the other thing is your child feels validated. So I love that. I also want to reinforce that parents don’t need to be perfect. They need to be real. And they need to take care of their issues. This is a big deal. And so just get the help you need. 

28:10   Lindz:  Yeah, parents or friends. The other thing that I was picking up and we’re talking a lot about disrupting assumptions, and the kind of grief that parents can experience from that. But I do think there is one thing that we don’t have to disrupt. So I’m going to make an assumption about parents right now that, I assume that all parents want their children to grow up happy. And so I don’t think we have to disrupt that assumption at all, I think we can strengthen that assumption. Because someone who is living their most authentic truth in their day-to-day lives, that is how we can move toward gender euphoria, to that feeling, to happiness in our lives and being ourselves. 

And I think we’re talking about these really sad statistics and, and it can be really hard to be queer and trans in this world. But there’s so much queer joy and trans joy in this world. Like, I am an adult who is trans and queer and living my best life. I am married, I’ve got two dogs and a house. I love my life as a part of the queer and trans community. And there’s so much that is so joyful about that experience, even though we hear so many hard things. And I think there’s just a lot of bias that’s been ingrained in us from the AIDS pandemic and how difficult that was for us as a community and how that’s become really internalized for a lot of adults. And there’s just so much queer suffering that really takes the headlines, when we’re not focusing on how much joy there is in being a part of this community. And finding yourself and being and living in your authentic truth, and I think we just forget that. That happiness is so possible when we’re living authentically, and we’re helping our children live authentically. So you don’t have to give up wanting your child to grow up to be happy. It’s not creating that affirming environment is directly contributing to them not being happy.

30:19   Leslie:  Right? The joy comes from that integration of the internal and external experience. I just want to keep saying that so that parents keep that in mind that just because they don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there and they need to question.

[Music: Fresh Air by Olexy]

30:35  Dale Rubury:  Hi, I’m Dale Rubury, a producer and occasional guest on Is My Child A Monster? and we’re looking for parents and caregivers to feature on Season 2. We’d love to hear from all kinds of families with kids between the ages of 4 and 18. There’s no problem too big or too small. So if you’d like to volunteer for some free parenting therapy, and are comfortable sharing your sessions publicly, with all names changed, of course, please visit ismychildamonster.com to apply.

31:07 Leslie:  So bringing up these conversations, you sing about it, you read about it, you have art and activities for this. And you start from when they’re very little, from a broader base. I was listening to one of your episodes, I think with your mom and sister, which was so fabulous. And you talked about a metaphor of the Froot Loops or the Cheerios—would you share that? Because that’s for young children and this idea….but you know what? It’s for young children, but the adults can learn so much from that—I don’t know if it was a song or story, tell us. 

31:45  Lindz:  Yeah, it’s just kind of like one of those little breakout boxes in my book. Of like, okay, here’s a practical thing that you could just do, day-to-day to get this lesson into your daily lives. And it was just kind of like, okay, what do we have in our day-to-day lives? We have breakfast, we have cereal, right? Kids like cereal, if you put a line of Cheerios on their highchair. Okay, let’s look at, you know, what’s the shape? What are things that we observe about those Cheerios? What color are they? How many are they? Can we count them? Lots of just normal things you would do with I don’t know, two, three-year old, right? 

And so if we have those Cheerios on the line, what happens if we introduce one Froot Loop? Okay, how can we reevaluate our observations? How is that Fruit Loop different than those Cheerios? How many do we have now? What does it look like? And we can say, okay, that Froot Loop is different, because of all these things, is different from those Cheerios. But does that make it worse? Or better than those Cheerios? No, it’s just different. And different can be cool. Maybe you like the Fruit Loop better than you like the Cheerios, maybe you like the Froot Loops, maybe like the Cheerios, better. There are…it just, I think, puts it into perspective of: this is something that’s different. But it doesn’t make it good or bad, just different. 

And sometimes, we can like things that are different in their own way. And I thought that that was just a really practical and very visual way, because kids are so…he way they learn is so different, you can really work with your child and in the ways that they can understand. And I think contrast at that age is really important, too. And so Froot Loops are a very different color, usually, than Cheerios. So there are a lot of ways that we can kind of point that out. And just use as a visual representation of this very, very fundamental idea of: things are different from each other. And they just are.

33:38  Leslie:  Yes, I loved in the beginning, you said our differences are a commonality. 

Lindz:  Yeah, yeah, it is. I believe that. 

Leslie:  Yeah, that’s a beautiful thing. And so I guess this is an invitation for all parents. We’re inviting all parents, parents with children, adults without children—we invite anyone and everyone to broaden that picture, to be more inclusive. And when something’s not aligned, just like the child in the episode, we see the trouble often outwardly with either self-harm, or the anxiety or depression or withdrawal or, or even oppositional behavior. So we want to make sure we’re listening to our children, and hopefully listen to them early on. And bring that respect that you are putting out in the world, to the queer community and to growing up in the queer community so that all children are accepted for those differences. Anything else that—I mean, you have so much to talk about—is there anything else you want to share, before we start wrapping up?

34:55  Lindz:  I think in terms of talking a lot about parent relationships with children. But we haven’t talked a ton about grownups talking to other grownups. So I think especially when a child—a queer and trans child—is in the mix and you’re being asked to kind of be a voice for a child or be an advocate for young person. I think that that’s a really important role to take on and a great deal of responsibility to take on and just making sure that you are doing the work to educate yourself, I think, is just really, really important, first and foremost. And spreading those resources around. And resources like my book, and resources like all of the excellent queer and trans picturebooks there are. A lot of places doing this work that need a lot more attention and will help people do the work that they don’t feel ready to do themselves. 

And I think getting…we just got to get people to a baseline. And I think it’s interesting with the Barbie movie coming out right now—I feel that was…I had a great time watching that movie. And it’s very Feminist 101—it’s got some really high concept stuff that’s really interesting. But I also found it pretty introductory. And I love that because it’s getting people to a place of understanding of that intro level of like, “Oh, patriarchy, okay; social constructs, okay,” with like, the horses in the patriarchy with Ken, and all that. 

And we’re getting to a place of just baseline understanding of these things. And I want to get to a place with that with queerness and transness. And this baseline understanding, like, this is what just everybody should know, at a baseline level, these kind of core concepts. And then we can start having these, like more interesting conversations. But that’s just not where we’re at right now. And so I want us to all get to that place. And we’re going to do that by spreading resources, and spreading information, and advocating for the young people who don’t have a voice or who are not allowing their voice into the conversation. 

So I think it’s important to create that space for your children. And even if your children aren’t coming out to you as queer and trans, we need to give a diversity of information because you never know if they could be or if their friend could be and you want them to be a safe place for their friend to come out to them. This isn’t just the work of parents of queer and trans kids who are out. This is the work of every single parent, and every single person who is involved in raising children. And that is a lot of people. So I want to make sure that this conversation isn’t just for people who have out queer and trans kids. This is for people who are raising the next generation in whatever form that takes for you. And I just want to make sure that that is apparent.

38:15  Leslie:  That’s fabulous. I love the idea of a baseline education, because you’re not setting the expectation too high, which would scare parents and say, “I can’t do it. That’s too much for me, if I’m going to be judged, because I make mistakes.” Yeah, we’re not looking for perfection, parents.

38:32   Lindz:  I don’t want everybody to have a PhD in gender studies. [Laughter]

38:36   Leslie:  Yes, we don’t need perfectionism, we need effort, we need stepping up, we need one step at a time. And I would love to share a story that my daughter, who is a lesbian…But growing up, even though we were doing our best to give her that inclusive environment, it’s just to understand the power of one comment of someone else. She was a teenager, she had not come out to herself yet. And one of our friends said to her, so how’re you doing? Do you have any girlfriends, any boyfriends? What’s happening? You know, who are you hanging out with? Who are you interested in? And she never forgets that comment. Because it’s a beginning. It’s a beginning step that says, I’m an ally, I’m aware. And I’m breaking down the assumption of do-you-have-a-boyfriend, you know, changing these things. 

So the power of one person, those are resiliency studies that say, queer children and growing up when you don’t have an ally…if you don’t have it at home, that one person can be a teacher, could be a friend, it could be someone out there. So yes, I love the idea. We will provide resources for parents. I bet you have so much that you can…I’m going to put your information. So, can you tell us where people can find more information about you, and your resources? And then we’ll share all that in our show notes links. 

40:01  Lindz: Yeah, for sure. All of my work, you can find it through queerkidstuff.com. I do lots of stuff through there. You can find my web series. You can find my podcast. You can find my books—Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide To Raising Queer Kids And Their Allies, out now. My picture book, Hooray For She, He, Ze, and They! What Are Your Pronouns Today? comes out in February; so you can preorder that now. And yeah, I’m just all over the internet at Lindz Amer and @queerkidstuff.

40:33   Leslie:  Oh, fantastic. You have so much information to share and we are in this together. So I want to thank you. Thank you for being here with us today.

40:41   Lindz:  Of course, you’re very welcome. And thank you for having me on. This has been lovely.

[Music: The Wilds Beyond by L-Ray Music]

40:51   Leslie:  I want to thank Lindz Amer for joining me and sharing their wealth of experience with LGBTQ+ kids. You can find resources for queer parenting, links to their books and website and more in our show notes. 

Join us next week where we meet Alice, a newly-divorced single mother of two young boys, one of whom struggles with fairness, often melting down in ways that impact the whole family. Subscribe to Is My Child A Monster? wherever you get your podcasts, so you don’t miss an episode. You can find a full transcript of this episode, and apply to be a guest on Season 2, by visiting ismychildamonster.com. The Is My Child A Monster? team is Alletta Cooper, Dale Rubury, Gabriela Glueck and me. Special thanks to Roland Bianchi and Eric Rubury. Our theme music is by L-Ray Music. I’m Leslie Cohen-Rubury. Thanks so much for listening. And this week, take a moment to think about what assumptions you are making about your child, that may not even be true.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai edited by Eric Rubury

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