Coming Out Later in Life

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By Leah Brignall

Coming out can be difficult at any stage in life. Youth might worry about how their parents will react and how they will be treated at school. A young adult might question how coming out could affect their career. But what about those who come out later in life? This article, I Didn’t Want to Betray My Wife Again, from Psychology Today discusses just that. It is a personal story from a man who was a husband and father of two children when he decided that it was best for him to live as his authentic self.

“I have never second-guessed my decision to come out. We come out to align our sexual desire and our sexual identity. We come out for those who are isolated and suffering as we were before we made our decision, those who may face the sobering thought that suicide is the only option to end their pain. We want them to know that there is hope for a new life.”

Your Child is Gay, Now What?

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By Leah Brignall

When we think about some of the challenges of coming out, we tend to think of the changes that the gay individual will experience. But what about their family and loved ones? When a person comes out, it can be a time of change for many people in their lives as well, especially their parents. While some find joy in their child being true to their identity, others find these transitions more difficult. Parents may feel lost or afraid. Will their child fit in? Will they be bullied? How do I interact with them? These are common questions, and there are resources for loved ones to find answers! This article, When a Child Comes Out, Parents May Want to Go in the Closet, gives some insight as to what a parent’s thought process might be. There are also some resources and tips for support! In the end, the most important thing is to try to accept your child for who they are and don’t be afraid to talk about it.

#psychlopedia – Sex

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Based on physical and medical factors, a person is assigned a sex at birth. Most people are assigned male or female, but sex can be more complicated than that. Also, remember that sex and gender are two different things. Planned Parenthood has a great description of what sex is:

“Assigned sex is a label that you’re given at birth based on medical factors, including your hormones, chromosomes, and genitals. Most people are assigned male or female, and this is what’s put on their birth certificates.

When someone’s sexual and reproductive anatomy doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male, they may be described as intersex.

Some people call the sex we’re assigned at birth “biological sex.” But this term doesn’t fully capture the complex biological, anatomical, and chromosomal variations that can occur. Having only two options (biological male or biological female) might not describe what’s going on inside a person’s body.

Instead of saying “biological sex,” some people use the phrase “assigned male at birth” or “assigned female at birth.” This acknowledges that someone (often a doctor) is making a decision for someone else. The assignment of a biological sex may or may not align with what’s going on with a person’s body, how they feel, or how they identify.”

#psychlopedia – Gender, Gender Expression, Gender Identity

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Gender is often thought of as being congruent with sex, but in fact they are two completely separate things. Gender is best described through gender identity and gender expression.

Gender Identity: a person’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex.

Gender Expression: the way in which a person expresses their gender identity, typically through their appearance, dress, and behavior.

A Lesson for Parents on Gender Identity

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By Leah Brignall

With each new year it seems as though gender norms are becoming less prevalent. What used to seem taboo, like being a working mother or stay-at-home dad, may now be looked at as a viable option. These and other ideas of masculinity and femininity are being challenged, especially by today’s youth. Some people are supportive and understanding of these changes, while others are left confused or uncomfortable.

Parents can’t help but thinking about what their children’s lives will be like. Because of this pre-conceived idea of who their child might be, it can be difficult for them to understand if their kid doesn’t take the path that they expected. This article, Parent’s Guide to the Gender Revolution from Psychology Today, has a lot of great information to help parents understand the idea of gender identity, and how to talk to their kids about it. There is also an interview with an LMSW who works with LGBTQ youth that answers a lot of common questions about the youth and their parents. Check it out!