PRIDE month in many cities has come to a close, but not its impact. Crowds of the non-binary population swelled the streets. So, how do you define non-binary?
It’s an umbrella term for a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely male nor entirely female. It’s the opposite of cisgender (attracted to the opposite sex only).
Under this umbrella term are spokes relating to the non-binary term such as Androgynous that means identifying and/or presenting as neither specifically masculine nor feminine, gender-fluid means one who embraces fluidity of gender identity, agender is one who doesn’t identify a particular gender, gender non-conforming is one whose physical or behavioral characteristics don’t correspond to the traditional expectations of their gender, and gender-queer is one who doesn’t identify with a single-fixed gender.
Not Just For Movie Stars
It’s no so unusual to be non-binary. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, the percentage of American adults identifying as LGBT rose to 4.5% in 2017, greater than 4 percent in 2016.
Gallup estimated that roughly ½ of those who self-identify as LGBT are bisexual.
Freud’s theory of sexuality as a continuum is being played out. Despite Freud’s theory, many parents may be shocked if they are told that their child is bisexual. Why?
· Many bisexuals “pass” as straight because they are also interested in the opposite sex. Consequently, parents will hold onto the dream of their child marrying the opposite sex.
· Like society, parents believe you have to choose one sexual orientation or the other.
· Bisexuals are looked askance by some such as lesbians who regard them as “half-queer” and sleeping with the enemy.
· Others may regard bisexuals as being greedy with voracious sexual appetites being satisfied by both sexes.
So, how should a parent react?
· Remember that adolescence is a time of trying on different identities.
· Your child could be bisexual and believes he is.
· Don’t tell them to “get off the fence” and choose! They don’t need the added pressure!
· Recommends psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., co-author of When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know (Sterling, 2016), tell your child how pleased you are that he shared such intimate important information with you. For example, you can say “I want you always to feel like you can talk to me about any aspect of your life without worrying that I will judge you!”
· “Say that you love your child very much and that is what matters most,” suggests Dr. Tobkes.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.