Musical Nest

When Your Kid is LGBTQ+

When my kid Aris was 10 years old, they came out as transgender. I was surprised and taken aback, then I was glad that my kid told me, and then I was confused because I didn’t know how to support them. Since then, I have reached out to numerous supportive and wise folks, read a ton of books and articles, and have had a lot–and continue to have—conversations with Aris about their gender identity. I also began to see the world with different eyes, becoming more sensitive to our largely gender binary world, the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms, and the awkwardness many people feel when using they/them pronouns. As a result, I collaborated with my friend Katy Perry and we wrote an article to highlight best practices for those unfamiliar with this territory and how we can best support gender diverse youth.

I am still approached by parents whose children have come out, so I compiled a list of resources I found helpful for me (as a parent) and for my transgender nonbinary kid, especially the books. I added some music-related resources because listening to music can be uplifting and affirming.

Books

  • This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids by Danielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo
  • A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni
  • How to They/Them: A Visual Guide to Nonbinary Pronouns and the World of Gender Fluidity by Stuart Getty
  • The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell
  • How to Understand Your Gender by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker

Websites

Movies

  • Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, documentary movie from National Geographic, 2017.
  • Disclosure, directed by Sam Feder, documentary movie from Netflix, 2020. 

Music Sampler (because music makes the world go around)

  • “Chosen Family” by Elton John and Rina Sawayama
  • “We Royal” and “Just Be” from the album The Love by the Alphabet Rockers (AlphabetRockers.com)
  • “Same Love” by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert
  • “Crossing” by Mari Ésabel Valverde

Gender Diverse Musicians (There are many more!)  

  • Wendy Carlos, composer
  • Billy Tipton, jazz musician and bandleader
  • Beverly Glenn-Copeland, singer and songwriter
  • Dee Palmer, composer
  • Angela Morley, composer
  • Sara Davis Buechner, concert pianist
  • Mari Ésabel Valverde, composer
  • Laura Jane Grace, singer
  • Florence Anna Maunders, composer
  • Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, singer