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How Do I Tell My Child Their Cousin Is Transgender?

ally parent support transgender Apr 03, 2024

It can be hard to know how to talk to children about the people in their lives being transgender. How do you tell your child that the cousin they thought was a girl is a boy? How do you explain to your child that their sister is now their brother?


As adults, we overthink people changing gender way more than children do.


We don't want our children to be confused, so we spend a lot of time thinking about how we will tell them, what words we will use, their reactions, and how we will navigate their emotions. We wonder how much information is too much to share and if we will say the wrong thing.


Much of our concern comes from our reaction to learning our child or loved one is transgender. It may have caught us off guard or have been a lot of information to learn and process. We envision that our children will have the same experience that we did.


We forget that children are more adept at learning new information than adults, and they are generally more open-minded.


The best way to tell a child someone they love is transgender is to use simple, age-appropriate language and terms that will be easy for them to understand. For example, you could say, "Sometimes people don't feel good in their bodies and they learn they are actually a girl when they thought they were a boy. Uncle Jack told us that he is actually a girl and will use the name Nora."


Then, if your child has any questions, you could answer them, but most children will be okay with that explanation and will move on to the next thing. For them, learning someone they thought was a boy is a girl and has a new name isn't a big deal. They're like, "Okay, cool," and that's it. It would be more devastating to find out their favorite TV show was canceled or that you changed dinner from pizza to meatloaf.


Trust that whatever you tell your child will be enough and precisely the correct information they need to hear.


If deciding what to say is making you nervous, there are a lot of good picture books you could read with your child to help you out. Here are a few recommendations:

Sam is My Sister

Red: A Crayon's Story

It Feels Good to Be Yourself

When Aidan Became a Brother

My Princess Boy

Jamie is Jamie

(not affiliate links)


As your child ages, they may have more questions, and the opportunity to share more information may present itself. In the meantime, don't worry about things beyond what they need to know right now.



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