There is so much media attention being drawn to the story and life of Bruce Jenner and his transition into Caitlyn Jenner. This woman has so much courage and strength to be interviewed by Diane Sawyer so that misconceptions can be understood by our society. However, unless we experience this type of emotional upheaval of being transgender, how can we begin to comprehend the pain and suffering that these individuals go through?

What can parents do support their child if they think they could identify as GLBTQ (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer)?

  • In the home environment, talk to your child about what they experience at school.
  • Support your child by telling them you will not allow anyone to harass or bully them and will put a stop to it.
  • Be a school advocate for your child with the administration and law enforcement.
  • Find a professional counselor who can help support your child if they experience negative effects of being bullied.
  • Check out schools that have “no tolerance” policies for bullying and clubs or programs for GLBTQ kids.
  • Educate yourself as a parent so that you will have a better understanding of what your child is experiencing and maybe join your own support group as well.
  • Bring articles home or movies/media that will help you have open discussions with your child so they do not feel alone.
  • Help your child find positive role models in the GLBTQ community or look for role models in your own community.
  • Try to empower your community as a parent of a child who is experiencing this. Even becoming a speaker yourself may help you in your process of understanding.

Become knowledgeable that your child will experience so many different issues such as “coming out,” prejudice, discrimination, staying safe, family support, religious dogma, bullying and thriving in school or at work.

Here are some important statistics that will help you have a better understanding of what a transgender person may experience in our American society.

  • 41 percent of transgender people said they had attempted suicide according to a study done at Injustice at Every Turn.
  • One study surveyed that unemployment was at twice the rate of the American population among the transgender community. At work or in relation to a job, 25 percent of transgender people reported losing their job because they wouldn’t “conform.” Over 90 percent experienced general harassment at their workplaces.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development published a report four years ago saying that there was evidence of GLBTQ people being discriminated against in terms of housing opportunities.
  • Transgender people are still discriminated in the military.

Tolerance is so important to grasp and teach our children. By not being critical or making derogatory statements you can help your child learn to accept differences in others as well as themselves without prejudice or judgement.