(SPOILER ALERT) These “lessons” about LGBTQ+ can and should come naturally; there shouldn’t need to be a particular time or day that you block out for teaching your child about LGBTQ. Despite having a social media platform on LGBTQ education, I find said information can be acquired naturally; kids, young adults, and parents can find and gather the information on their own time with ease and hopefully with interest and support as well!! Someone on my platform may have said it better than I could:
“I agree 100%. we don’t teach kids in class about straight people because they figure it out the same way [naturally].”
- Parker Wellman (TikTok)
Are You Open To The Fact That Different Types of Relationships Exist?
Maybe you and your partner are a straight couple, but you want to ensure your child knows what there is to know about the LGTBQ community. That’s a very encouraging move. So, you can take it a step further by asking yourself (and your partner) if you’re open to the reality that romantic relationships come in different forms.
This question is crucial because it will naturally rub off on how you engage your child about LGTBQ relationships. Let’s not forget that children can pick up on even the smallest pauses or inconsistencies. So, let’s assume you’re not convinced about the legitimacy of LGBTQ relationships; I mean, hopefully, you know some gay couples and respect them lol. Your child WILL pick up on this, they will ask questions naturally which will lead to teachable moments and perhaps even cause your family as a unit to seek out education to further these teachable moments (cough, cough; check out my social channels). THIS is the best way to “teach LGBTQ education.”
Sadly, some individuals and couples are “meh” about LGBTQ and self-describe as “supportive but skeptical.” Fun fact: your child, friends, and family WILL pick up on this wishy-washy support. When that happens, your child assumes the same position; they’re not convinced yet about the whole situation. Sadly this lack of consistent support can easily turn into bigotry, micro-aggressions, and yes homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia as well.
Let Their Natural Curiosity Take Over, Then Guide It
There is a lot of information on the internet about sexuality, straight, gay, and non-binary relationships, and it’s not always an organized place for your child to satisfy their curiosity.
In some families, sexuality is never discussed, even when curious children raise questions about what they’ve seen around them. When your child is curious, and you do not answer it, you’re indirectly signalling that it’s a no-no topic, and they’ll stop raising it.
But why avoid the conversation when you can guide it?
Remember, the internet is already full of information, so they’ll find some information out there sooner rather than later. So if they bring up the topic, you can guide their curiosity by answering their questions openly and honestly.
Here’s a quick example;
Kid: “Hey dad why are those two guys kissing?”
Parent: They’re together like mommy, and I are 👍.
(see, it’s really not that hard ☺)
This parent’s approach was honest, open, and a bit explanatory if you prefer to get your information across in very few words. Now, your kids might be even more curious, and they’ll probably have more questions (AND THAT’S OK).
As much as you can, answer those questions, as many as they have. There’s a simple reason. What they have witnessed is very new to them. As you may have already guessed, the child from that example most likely has heterosexual parents, so, as far as they know, it’s a man and a woman that can kiss, and two men (or two women) kissing is new. When you’re faced with new information, you’ll likely need more information to begin to process and lock it into your mind. It’s the same way with your children. They won’t just get it; they need to process it, which often leads to more questions; this is a good thing. With questions come answers, with answers comes knowledge, and (usually) with knowledge comes acceptance and kindness).
There’s no particular time to teach them. Do it any chance you get. Use examples from places they may have come across LGBTQ individuals, couples, and families. Communicate openly and honestly with your answers and invite them to ask more questions if they’d like.
I hope this helps!