Children's questions on gender diversity easily answered, says educator

Budd’s advice is for older adults to approach questions about gender diversity as they would any other topic.

Laura Budd says it's the parents who need help

Laura Budd says children are always curious about issues of gender, but finds it is often the parents who struggle with the topic and need help talking to their kids. (CBC)

Laura Budd says talking to children about gender diversity is often harder for parents than it is for their kids.

"We are kind of ill-equipped," Laura Budd, a transgender woman and education coordinator with Moose Jaw Pride and the Saskatchewan Pride Network, told CBC's The Morning Edition.

How do you explain any other difference? Politely, through conversation.- Laura Budd

Budd is married and has two children. She said she was open with her children throughout her transition process.

She said children are open to gender diversity.  

"They are interested and in an age of discovery."

The talk

That interest can lead to awkward situations, as the sometimes "ill-equipped" parents try to give children answers they may not know themselves. Budd's advice is for adults to approach questions about gender diversity as you would any other topic.     

"When their children start asking questions about someone that they just don't understand their presentation, are they a boy or a girl? Those questions are easily answered in that they are who they are, and they don't have to make sense to us in order to be who they are," Budd said.

"How do you explain any other difference? Politely, through conversation. And you make sure that the child understands that's how the person is, it's not something unusual," she said.

'It's not new to humanity'

Budd said gender diversity is something that has existed throughout human history, despite hand-wringing at what some adults see as a rapidly-changing world where such discussions are suddenly necessary, .   

"It's new to us…but it's not new to the world and it's not new to humanity," she said.

Budd suggested that confused adults take the time to talk to someone who is gender diverse. Failing that, she said, there are all sorts of good books on the subject that might help.

with files from the Morning Edition