Podcast Episode 185: Gender Creative Kids

Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 185 of The New Family Podcast where we hear from transgender and gender-fluid youth and talk to a filmmaker about supporting kids to express gender in the ways that are right for them.

In a world of entrenched positions and prescribed roles, expanding our definitions of gender requires the courage to dive deep into understanding and acceptance. On this episode, we meet the subjects of Christina Willings’ new documentary Beauty, which explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their ideas of what it means to be fully human. For these kids, claiming their own sense of gender when everything around them insists that they comply and conform can be challenging — even scary. We also hear from Christina about what compelled her to the make the film, and what grown-ups can do to ensure a safer and more accepting world for these young people.

Beauty is currently being submitted to Canadian and international film festivals and will next screen at the Seoul International Women’s Film Festival in June. If you want to arrange a private screening — for a community organization, classroom, etc. — you can email info@nfb.ca.

Here are some resources related to this episode.

Beauty Official National Film Board page

Beauty: The Young Gender Pioneers from the NFB blog

Related Episode: Parenting a Transgender Child

Related Episode: Life as a Transgender Dad who Nurses

Related Episode: When Your Spouse Comes Out as Transgender

Related Episode: When Your Child Comes Out

Related Episode: What Not to Say When Someone Comes Out

Christina’s advice to parents:

“I think the most important thing to say to people the importance of really listening and hearing kids when they start to talk about not feeling authentic in the gender they were assigned. That understanding of how deep and powerful this drive is, not to just trivialize it, the way we tend to trivialize children anyway, honestly, when they are telling us things that are true for them. So many people just go ‘Oh well, whatever,’ or ‘Uncle Johnny didn’t mean it. No need to be upset.’ Kids are routinely dismissed less than they used to be but still there is a tendency to do that. I think when a child shows up, one of the phrases that is used, and is ‘consistent, insistent, and persistent’ about the need to change genders or to identify differently than with the gender that they were assigned. It is incredibly important to listen.”

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by