My daughter has been a part of a Girl Scout group ever since she was 8 years old. As the girls have grown, one of her friends has announced that she no longer identifies with being a girl and has begun to transition herself into a male-gender identity. At first, my daughter was confused, but I have assured her that her friend is still her friend, regardless of the gender with which she now has identified. How can I offer her ways in which she can give unconditional support to her friend during this transition?
First of all, I commend you for being forthright with your daughter and encouraging her to see her friend as a friend, and not as someone tied to a specific gender. Many parents today face the challenge of explaining to their children the idea of transgender and role swapping, both of which were just as present in my childhood, but which were simply not talked about. It is often an uncharted path, both in parenting as well as in many friendships, as society learns to accept a more open and perhaps honest lifestyle identity from its people. Acceptance for many people is hard to come by, and unfortunately, not so many people are as open minded as they could be. I would encourage your daughter to invite her friend to sit with her at lunch, not change any habits of their lives thus far, and if she finds that her friend needs to talk, to make sure that “he” knows that your daughter is always there for him. Friendships are about connections deep within each of us and also about making memories. Just staying true to what made them become friends in the first place is the best way of showing unconditional support.
Alisa Murray, aka “Auntie A,” is an a-winning columnist and fine-art photographer.
She holds a BS in Psychology.