I’m grateful some of this was helpful. I wanted to talk a little more about how we can support young people. Mainly this week’s discussion will be about further introspection and things we can avoid in order to support LGBTQ adolescents.
I get to work with a number of care givers doing a great job with their gay, lesbian, trans and Queer teens. It makes me think of things we heard growing up. People would use some of the above as a curse word or slur. Sometimes people would isolate people they felt didn’t fit in a particular binary conceptualization of a gender. What were things you heard growing up that you want to release? Releasing doesn’t mean burying, stuffing and ignoring. What were specific hateful things you heard people say when others walked by not fitting in a particular box or what were homophobic things said in movies that you learned of that you’d like to notice and release? By acknowledging these things happened or we were exposed to these propaganda against LGBTQ people we can have further introspection.
Additionally, what are norms we think we’ve been fed that we don’t want to put onto young LGBTQ people. For example, in my early trainings to becoming a gender affirming psychologist, I had a supervisor on an endocrinology unit ask if I thought someone was really a transboy because he wore what my supervisor thought were “girl” things sometimes. I was new and training, but I knew better. Of course we can’t put him into this colonialized box of “boy” or “girl.” He identifies as a boy and he sometimes wears things you deem in another box. That’s all. Maybe we should check why we have these boxes in the first place. We know this “boy/girl check mark” box thing perpetuates patriarchy and White supremacy.
So the next time we think an LGBTQ person doesn’t fit into a box we’ve been educated to believe in through media, religion, friends, or other sources I hope we can do some introspective work. If you’ve ever done something outside of what others are doing around you you can take a moment to think of how that went for you. When was it scary and when did it help the greater good, or even just your own authenticity?
We can take a moment to reflect and see what’s true for us, what are our beliefs, and who we’ve loved long before we knew about gender expansiveness? For example, when I work with parents who are unsure and just want to learn how to connect and understand their LGBTQ teen I ask them to think of Prince or folks who didn’t fit in a box perhaps before their teen was even born. Parents get it when I point out many examples of people we knew or know who may not fit in a binary conceptualization. Whatever we do we want to take people for who they are and support them.
In a nutshell here are some of the main questions that you can reflect on from this week to help dive more deeply into your own journey and support the LGBTQ young people around you:
- What were things you learned growing up that you don’t want to hold on to?
- What do we want to let go of regarding how we see people in such rigid, binary extremes?
- What’s our journey with going outside of what others are doing around us?
Wishing you gentleness and kindness as you safely explore these additional questions. Also, please again reach out if you’d like more support around this exploration. There’s also several episodes on Breaking The Couch Podcast with Dr. Dowtin and I demystify and debunk all things trauma therapy, including gender traumas and how to speak kindly and invitingly to queer people across the age span.