Parents & (Chosen) Family

Thinking about (my) Gender

What does gender identity mean to me?

When a trans or non-binary person comes into your life, it can be helpful to deal with your own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs about gender and gender identity. Emotional defensiveness, a general lack of understanding, and the accompanying devaluation of another person’s identity very often are connected to how we ourselves understand and perceive gender categories.

It is not your child's job to provide answers to very intimate questions related to your own questions about gender. There is a lot of value in working some of this out with yourself, with your partner, with professionals, and/ or with counselling services. There is no shame in seeking support!

Reflecting on categories and assumptions

The way we attribute behaviours, traits, and interests to gender can become very arbitrary. You’ll notice this the more you think about it. Maybe you define yourself as a woman and love manicures, but you absolutely can't stand high heels, maybe you are passionate about cooking for yourself and your family, but you don't consider pastels beautiful and green is your favourite colour. How do these qualities define your identity, your womanhood?

How I see myself and how others see me: between stability and obligations

And yet, these kinds of categories can be very significant, because for many people, and especially during a transition process, they play an important role for your child to be perceived in the way your child wants to be perceived. Assumptions and attitudes about a certain gender identity can provide a lot of comfort and stability for one person, while being perceived as extremely constraining by another.

What does gender mean to me?

Questions for self-reflection:
What is it that makes me feel like a woman/man/non-binary?
Is it character traits?
My mannerisms?
Articles of clothing?
Hobbies and interests?My career choice? 
My parenting style?
What role does my body play?

Maybe, after asking yourself these questions, you are left with a feeling for what feels authentic to you and what seems to be prescribed or the “norm”. You might remember things you go along with on a daily basis, although you don’t feel very comfortable with them, and things you are passionate about.