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Talking to kids about gender identity as Caitlyn Jenner makes transformation

Last Updated Jun 7, 2015 at 11:41 am PDT

Caitlyn Jenner (Courtesy Twitter @Caitlyn_Jenner)
Summary

Reality star pushes topic of gender identity into the headlines

Psychologist says be open to answering questions about gender transition from your children

LOS ANGELES (NEWS 1130) – Caitlyn Jenner has been all over the news during the past week, but how do you talk to your kids about the sensitive topic of gender identity.

There are a lot of young kids and teens who are following Jenner’s public transformation and see it as a way to start a conversation and break down barriers.

“This can help tremendously in helping individuals like themselves who are struggling with their own gender orientation be able to, maybe, consider coming out and being able to take other steps,” says Dr. Joti Samra.

She adds it’s best not to ignore it, approach it with an open mind and let your child steer the direction of the conversation.

“The explanation that you’re going to give is going to be very age-appropriate. And what you want to do is let your child guide the questions that you’re answering and really kind of follow their lead and answer to the best that you can as openly and honestly the specific questions that they have.”

Samra adds it’s also best to be proactive.

“Even if their urge is to avoid having this conversation, the reality is the children will likely be exposed to some level of communication about this, whether it’s on social media or with other peers. So, avoiding the issue doesn’t make it go away and it doesn’t make your child not be exposed to these issues.”

She says the fact that Jenner is a celebrity, isn’t a bad thing.  “There is this feeling we get as the public of a feeling of familiarity with someone who is in the media and what that actually does is combat negative attitudes and even discrimination.”

Jenner went viral last week when she tweeted a photo of her Vanity Fair cover along with the declaration that at, age 65, she’s finally “living my true self.”