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QUESTION: My Grandaughter Came Out as Nonbinary and I Don’t Know What That Means: Advice?
“My 13-year-old granddaughter has come out and said she is nonbinary.
I am confused about what that means and how do I help her not to feel that she is not loved for being true to who she is.
Is anyone else having someone they love going through this? I understand being gay and transgender. But nonbinary is new to me. Thanks in advance for any insight anyone can give me.”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“It means they don’t identify solely as one gender or the other and don’t stick to strict gender expectations. It also means they may bounce between being more feminine one day to more masculine another. Sit down with your grandchild and ask about things like pronouns, expectations from the grandchild, ask questions you may have, and to remind them that you are always there for them…
… I commend you for being such a supportive grandparent and being so understanding. I see so many people judging or being critical and it breaks my heart. You are an amazing grandparent and your grandchild is amazing for being brave enough to be true to their self.”
“First of all, it warms my heart that you don’t even know what it means and just want to support your grandchild. You are a wonderful person and example of unconditional love.”
“I commend you for being such a loving and nonjudgmental grandma. No matter what you may think of the situation this Grandma is starting off right. With love and an interest in part of her life. Being surrounded by those that love her will help her find her way.”
“My younger sibling is nonbinary. it’s definitely a learning curve for sure. I also had never really heard of it before until they brought it up to me. I think a good way to start understanding and respecting them is to ask what their preferred pronouns are. My sibling prefers they/them pronouns. I refer to them as my sibling rather than my sister. iI’s difficult and I still tend to slip up on it here and there, but they’ve expressed that the effort and acknowledgment goes a long way!”
“Honestly, the best thing you could do in this situation is to let grandbaby know that you don’t have any experience with nonbinary people, but let her know that you’d love her to teach you and that you’ll take the journey to education with her. (Just an opinion; I do not experience with this either!)”
“My oldest grandchild identifies as nonbinary. I view it as they don’t feel the social constructs of male or female apply to them and they are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. I identify with their feeling this way as I remember struggling in my teens with what I was told I needed to be as a woman. I knew I was lesbian and that the role of the traditional woman wasn’t what I identified with in the ’60s…
… Being willing to listen and honor their language of identification goes a long way. If you meet them where they are you will have their trust and love for life. They may change their minds. These are years of struggling to identify who they are. You’re doing a great job by asking.”
“I believe it means she doesn’t identify as a male or female, talk with her about it and tell her you want to support her and to know how to do it the way that she would like. I’m sure she will be happy to tell you more.”
“I think it’s amazing that you want to understand more and are supportive! Coming out to anyone can be really hard for someone and to know they have support is so important! Asking your grandchild what it means to them will help you understand the best! There is the general definition but I think everyone has their specific details that make it true to them!..
… Nonbinary means not identifying as male or female and not using the pronouns she/her or he/him but rather they/them! It can take some time to get used to changing pronouns but it does get easier depending on what they want to be called! It can take some time to get used to the new pronouns but it does get easier!”
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