What would you do if your child told you that he or she had something “very difficult” to tell you? How would you respond? Would you sit down and try to understand what your child was trying to communicate to you? Would you respond in anger, judgment, or irritation? Would you even give your child your full attention? And after listening to your child, would you attempt to ignore, dismiss, or even deny what your child was trying to tell you?
These are important questions for all parents to ask—and answer—because it is vitally important that parents understand how to respond to the significant questions that our children present to us with care and consideration. This understanding is especially critical for parents who are faced with the additional—and unexpected—challenge of how to respond when what is so “very difficult” for their child to tell them is that he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning their identity (LGBTQ).
Given the strong societal stigma against the LGBTQ population, as well as the lack of education with respect to parenting skills, sexuality, gender, and identity development, many parents feel overwhelmed, ashamed, and isolated. As a result, despite coming out in increasing numbers, almost half of LGBTQ youth face an uncertain future due to parental and societal rejection.
A Soul Has No Gender is the story of one mother’s inquiry into her experience of coming to accept the sexual and gender identities of her fraternal twins, who are lesbian and female-to-male transgender, and how the experience transformed not only her relationships with her children, but with herself as well.