Wlll talking with children about sexuality and gender influence them?

Many people worry that if we’re open with our children about sexual orientation and gender diversity, it will encourage them to experiment, perhaps out of curiosity, and perhaps influence their development.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are internal experiences. Research shows clearly that adults do not cause children to become lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or heterosexual.

Adults can, however, influence how children feel about themselves, including all the ways they may feel out of sync with cultural messages. Adults can have a huge impact on whether children accept or reject themselves and how they feel about and treat those around them.

Please see important research on the impact of family acceptance vs. rejection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. See the Family Acceptance Project’s findings in English and in Spanish.

Adapted from All God’s Children:Teaching Children about Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

Contributed by Melany Burrill

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