Parenting is especially tricky in situations where you don’t feel like you have all the answers. For many of us, one of these moments can be as kids start to become aware of and explore gender and sexuality. Awareness of differences in sexual identity can take many forms. Kids might notice that a playmate’s family looks different than their own or that a classmate prefers to dress in both traditionally masculine and feminine clothes, rather than one or another. Kids may feel confused about their own feelings regarding their burgeoning gender and sexual identity, or need guidance to support a friend who does.
Area experts say it’s best to address these types of questions proactively, rather than reactively, and in a spirit that celebrates diversity. We talked to a breadth of local experts to guide us through common questions and concerns when it comes to talking about sexual identity and LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, +) equality with kids of all ages.
Helpful LGBTQ+ Terms to Know
Although most know what the letters and terms in “LGBTQ+,” there are other terms that are good to know when talking to kids about these topics.
Madison Local LGBTQ+ Youth Resources
The Madison area has many resources for kids who need support or want to learn about LGBTQ+ identities.
Here are some of the experts’ recommendations for great books and websites that can help families navigate LGBTQ+ topics and make kids feel comfortable.
Real Talk for Parents With LGBTQ+ Kids
Parents may face tough conversations with loved ones about a lack of support for their kids who may identify as LGBTQ+. Here’s how to back up your child.
GSAFE’s Inclusive Mission
For the past 19 years, GSAFE has worked with families, educators and students to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals are welcome at schools across Wisconsin.