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What does your teen think about gender? For the last five years, SHE Media has been filming with a focus group of about 25 kids, to cover an array of topics. When we first met Bailey, Evan, Gabrielle, Julia, Juno, Jojo, Reed, Sabine, Sadie, Skye, Zaki, and the 14 other kids we interviewed, they were 9 years old. We've followed them for the past five years, and today, they’ve grown into young adults, navigating the weird, wild, and wonderful world of teen culture. Learn more here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt8E15LaHqG4qvun7u0yXL1t39rsUgPSp Read the full story on SheKnows.com: https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/2117014/gender-identity-gen-z/ === It's Official: Gen Z is Rejecting the Gender Binary Today’s teens are more gender-nonconforming and gender-fluid than any previous generation, and it’s serving them well. A 2018 study from the journal Pediatrics, for example, noted that nearly 3% of kids they studied identified as transgender, gender-nonconforming, or non-binary; compare that with an earlier UCLA study (from 2017, so not that much earlier) that found only .7% of teens identifying as transgender, and it’s hard to deny the expansion of gender identity, gender terminology, or both. As for our five-year focus group of 25 kids, our recent follow-up interviews with them support just that trend, with an increase of 10% or more in un-articulated or non-binary gender identities among the 25 kids. “Gender identity is not what you’re born with; it’s who you are,” one of the Hatch kids, Reed, tells SheKnows, reiterating what science has long known about gender (that it’s a social construct) — but a fact that this country seems oh-so-draggingly delayed in embracing. (Case in point: Why is it so damn hard to let trans kids use the bathroom they’re comfortable with??) “It doesn’t matter what they think,” Reed adds. “It just matters what I think, and how I imagine myself.” Skye, for one, has reimagined the gender — and the pronouns — they were assigned at birth. “I’m gender-neutral and I use they/them pronouns,” says Skye. When asked which bathroom they would use, Skye replies, “Whichever one has a shorter line.” Um, you can hang with us anytime for that response, Skye. Skye goes on to explain that they’ve spent these past five years we’ve been following their story truly struggling with their gender before coming out as non-binary. “As of this summer I feel a lot more confident. I just felt really weird about myself [before]…I have some pretty specific memories of questioning my gender when I was younger… I’d suppress that.” “I’m not a boy. I’m also not a girl,” Skye continues. And realizing and acknowledging this? “That was a really important step for me to take,” they add. “Right now, I think I identify as male? I’m still kind of figuring it out,” another teen, Zaki, tells SheKnows. But what’s the biggest struggle for kids coming into their own and identifying as gender-nonconforming? Aside from, you know, U.S. politics (see: aforementioned bathroom awfuless), a huge obstacle can, sadly, be the parents. “My friends especially immediately started using the right pronouns and correcting themselves when they used the wrong ones,” Skye explains, “as well as using my [new] name as soon as I told them that’s the name I was comfortable with.” But the adults in their life? Not as accommodating. “I think it’s more nerve-wracking to come out to your parents,” 19-year-old Sadie, explaining that we expect folks of our own generation to be understanding — older generations, not so much. So what can we, the parents — whether we’re elder millennials or elder generations — do? Listen to and validate your child and their gender identity. Don’t question, don’t gloss over it, and above all don’t refer to it as a “phase.” Accepting them for who they are is by far the most important thing you can do to be a good parent to your LGBTQ child — or any child, for that matter. After all, as Zaki says, “It’s important to be yourself. Because if you’re not yourself, who are you?” === SheKnows.com is a progressive, inclusive space for women to find the practical information they need and the daily inspiration they want to live full, authentic lives — on their own terms. As the flagship property of SHE Media, SheKnows.com’s smart, meaningful and award-winning editorial content spans topics that include food, family, health, entertainment and more. Our editors and contributors produce stories that are grounded in the brand’s mission to encourage women to be who they are and to celebrate their diverse voices, bodies and experiences.
What Gender Identity Means to Today's TeensWhat Gender Identity Means to Today's TeensWhat Gender Identity Means to Today's TeensWhat Gender Identity Means to Today's Teens
What Gender Identity Means to Today's Teens