How to Talk to Kids about Transgender People with Carolyn Hays

Imagine getting a knock on your door from someone who could derail your whole life and take away your child. That knock came for my next guest—not because she was abusing or neglecting her child, actually, quite the opposite- it was because she was listening and responding to her child in the most loving way possible. She was allowing her child to live life as the gender she felt she was—a girl. The topic of transgender youth has been contentious, to say the least. From the outside, when the person looking in is cis gender—meaning you were say, born and labeled a girl at birth and, you feel like a girl, it can be hard to imagine that some people don’t feel that alignment. The only way that I feel like we can really explain that is to switch it– for you to imagine that other people are referring to you, if you are a girl or a woman, as a boy or a man—with pronouns that reflect that, names that reflect that and you keep saying, but that’s not who I am! Some kids know from a very young age that they are not the gender they were assigned at birth. And it’s important to listen to this—because transgender people can have a very high suicide rate- a very high rate of being bullied, attacked, even murdered. Trans women, because they must contend with a profound amount of discrimination, also are at high risk of alcoholism, poverty, homelessness and lack of good healthcare. The solution is not fixing the transgender person but rather, acceptance. Let’s talk about it with my next guest who has personal experience with her own transgender child.

How to Help Parents Understand & Support their LGBTQ Kids with Kristin Russo

Kristin Russo – When a child or teen comes out to their parents as gay, parents are often left with many unanswered questions fueled by fear, lack of knowledge or concerns about the wellbeing of their child. The conversations that need to take place are not as much about you answering questions for your child but about your child answering questions for you. Your child has likely been navigating the coming-out process for quite some time, now, you will be faced with decisions about how you will react to the information. How will you share this information with others? How can you best support your child? What if you fear for their safety? What’s the deal with pronouns? You might also grapple with how your child’s sexuality fits in with your faith, your previous hopes and dreams for them and your relationship. Well, it doesn’t make sense to stick our heads in the sand. It’s time to learn the answers for everyday questions and concerns when you are a parent, aunt/uncle, teacher, grandparents of loved one of a kid who is gay. For guidance on this topic we have Kristin Russo on the show today.

Kristin Russo is a writer, speaker, educator and consultant with a focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) issues. She is also co-host & producer of Buffering the Vampire Slayer alongside musician Jenny Owen Youngs, which was named one of the top 30 podcasts of the decade by Paste Magazine. She has a great book with co-author Dan Owens called This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids. You can find her at