One of my children has recently started wearing articles of clothing not typically associated with the gender they were assigned at birth. I consider myself socially aware. I have had trans friends for years, and I've raised all of my children in an environment of acceptance and love. I want my child to know they are free to express themselves more fully. They don't have to sneak around. I feel like this is something they want to do but are hesitant to do. What would you do?
Dear Cool Dad,
It warms my heart to hear stories of accepting parents. I'm glad to hear your child is supported. I can't stress how important a father's acceptance is. Society often expects fathers to be more stoic sometimes, so it is wonderful that your child has a "cool dad." I suggest you casually bring it up when you are doing other things. Simply saying, "I think you are pretty cool, kid. I've noticed you've been expressing your gender. I want you know that it is ok with me for you to express yourself and be yourself no matter what. I love you," could be enough. Children worry about disappointing their parents and when something as integral to one's identity as gender comes into play, it can cause internal struggles. You can't go wrong letting those you love know that you accept and love them unconditionally. I wish you the best of luck.