Millennials are individuals roughly between the ages of 38 to 23. The millennials have undergone a change that is unlike Gen Z, Baby Boomers or Gen X. Most individuals who have just become parents belong to the category and follow their own system of parenting. And we thought it would be interesting to ask them if their understanding of LGBTQ+ has changed at all. Also, for comparison purposes, we also asked a few Gen X people the same set of questions.
The participants of the survey included married couples and married couples with kids.
Millennial parents are different from parents of the earlier generation.
- Millennial parents wait longer to have kids
- They are more confident in raising kids
- Millennials also seek parental advise from the internet
- They see what fits them best and not follow what everyone else does
- They encourage their children to have a strong sense of identity
- And most importantly, the Millennial parents are said to embrace the changes around them
But do these features affect how they perceive LGBTQ+? Does it mean that they understand the obstacles members of the community? Do they understand what it means to be queer? And that’s why we asked them this set of questions.
- When did you learn of the LGBTQ+ community?
- Is being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Queer, or Intersex a choice?
- What are the problems that you think are faced by the LGBTQ+ community today?
- Do you think LGBTQ+ education should be included in Sex-Education in Schools?
- When do children come to know that they do not fit in the hetero-normative boxes? (Sex/gender-wise)
- Should children be allowed to undergo sex operation if they want to?
- Do you think exposure to LGBTQ+ inclusive environment or media turns children queer?
- How would you react if your child came out to you?
- Do you understand what Transitioning is?
- What are the obstacles you see for your children in the future if they came out to you?
- Do you think you are equipped to handle a child from the LGBTQ+ community?
So let’s get down to it.
How much do Millennial Parents really know?
- Out of the 15, 8 were millennial parents. Here are the answers from the other 7.
- All the 7 had two kids, believe that being LGBTQ+ is not a choice, and think LGBTQ+ should become a part of education.
- They also say that children must not undergo a sex-change operation if they want to.
- One among seven thinks media influences children into becoming queer.
- Five of them say they understand what “Transitioning” means
- Out of those five, two think they are equipped to handle a child from the LGBTQ+ community, 2 think they aren’t. One is unsure
- Apart from the five, the other two say they don’t know what transitioning means, and yet one thinks they are equipped to handle a child from the LGBTQ+ community
Surprisingly, Millennials did comparatively bad.
- Out of 8, 6 have children, and 2 do not.
- 2 among the 8 believe that being LGBTQ+ is a choice
- All of them agree that LGBTQ+ education is required
- Only three believe that children should be allowed to undergo a sex-change operation if they want to.
- 2 believe that media influences children into turning queer, and one says that it “might”
- Only one person stated that they don’t know what transitioning means.
- Four of them said they feel equipped enough to take care of an LGBTQ+ child. The other four said maybe.
An individual of 43 believes that the media can influence children into turning queer. And says that she understands what transitioning means. To add to this she also thinks children should not be allowed to undergo a sex change operation if they want to.
Two women of 34 believe that being queer is a choice, and media can influence a child into turning queer. But also admit that they understand what transitioning means and say they feel fully equipped to take care of a child from the LGBTQ+ community.
The last case is of a woman who says she does not know what transitioning means but believes that she is equipped to handle a queer child.
Most parents have a majority of the questions right. They seem to have an understanding of the obstacles that being queer poses. Although they might have a slight problem in trusting a child’s decision about major decisions like wanting a sex-change surgery. Since the surgery is life-changing, one can see why the parents are not comfortable. Out of the 15 participants, only 3 said they would be okay with it.
Three out of the 15 believe that media can turn a child queer, which is 20% percent of the total participants. Seeing millennial parents agree with such statements show how wide our reach is, and how much awareness has to be spread. And this is the urban area population. The educated lot who think they are equipped to care for a queer child without understanding the basics. It is honestly pretty scary.
14 out of the 15 said that they had learnt about the LGBTQ+ at least 5 years ago. When they were asked why information about LGBTQ+ must be included in the education.
Here are the answers.
- When something exists it’s best to know all about it. Not sharing knowledge only makes the stigma grow and that’s why we see so.mang people not coming out of the closet for so many years or even understand their sexual preferences.
- They should understand and respect them. But this should be taught at a later age when the child is mature enough to understand.
- Of course, kids need to know and understand. That’s how the next generation will become more open-minded.
- It is necessary because it has been legalised now and yet people think it is a choice which needs to be amended.
- Educating young minds on this natural orientation will help them be more liberal and accepting individuals
There’s no separate LGBT+ education. It has to be explained as part of the regular explanation on relationships, gender roles and so on to expand our notion of what is ‘normal’
- Gender should not be treated as binary in schools when they learn about reproduction. We should freely talk about the third gender as well as birth-assigned gender vs actual gender
- The sooner we make it mainstream, the more we have the opportunity to ‘normalise’ so to speak. This will help with greater acceptance and less fear of the unknown.
- It’s an important conversation that needs to be had, preferably through a teacher who is themselves really really well-educated on this topic. Or better still, from mature representatives from the LGBTQ+ community who are able to field questions from curious children.
- Schools are instrumental in shaping children’s perception, understanding, and acceptance towards society in general. Educating them at the right age will create a generation that is open-minded and welcoming.
The parents understand that their kids must learn about it and want it to become a part of education.
And yet, they themselves seem to be distant from ideas and hold a mainstream idea towards it. How many parents have had the conversation with their own children? The parents struggle to hold a conversation about sex and gender because they themselves know of LGBTQ+ but don’t know about it. The education system will get upgraded eventually. And media has also been catching up with diverse representation slowly. But hearing about it from family makes it more personal and less like information that you have to learn because it is mandatory. This should be treated as a part of common sense.
But to do this, we have to understand when kids begin to grasp ideas of gender and sex.
- Before they hit puberty
- Sometimes as early as pre-teens
- I guess after 8?
- 8 or 9 years
- For boys, it’s probably around 14-15. For girls, it could be later.
- Gender wise earlier I’d say. About 10-15 years of age. Sex wise (I hope) it’s in late teenage, although precocious pre-teens also exhibit signs of knowing their sexuality.
- M/7 F/11
- I have no idea honestly but it could be really young to much later in life.
- I don’t think there’s a particular age when they wake up & realise it
- Right when they are discouraged to wear clothes or play with toys which are in contrast to their assigned gender at birth
- 15 years of age
From the most specific answer to answers that differentiate sex and gender are all present. But clearly, most of them are just guessing. When you cannot nail a child’s learning and perception of sex and gender, how will you know when to talk to them about it?
Dear parents, educate yourself.
Do not be ignorant or be satisfied with the pieces of information that you receive through mainstream media channels. The LGBTQ+ community lives in doubt and fear of accepting themselves and coming out to their peers or parents. We have had many children reach out to us asking for help. Parents hold the ability to create a comfortable environment for their children to engage in these conversations. But when the parents themselves are guessing about basic things like this, it becomes that much harder for a child to understand themselves.
It is not just a conversation. It’s not basic information or education. It is who people are. Without understanding the depth of the issue, parents pretending to be open-minded and saying that they would accept the child is insufficient. How many LGBTQ+ people have you spoken to? How many people have come out to you? That is actually how much you truly know about the LGBTQ+ community.
Most parents said they would be shocked if their child came out to them but would be supportive. They would be an ally and would try to cope with it.
The question is, why are you still shocked? Why does it still surprise you?
It is ridiculous how important parents think of themselves in this situation. No parent mentioned wanting to learn more about the child or teaching them how to cope with relatives and schools. Only one participant mentioned that they would tell the child that it is absolutely normal and it is completely okay with it.
The child will have to face lots of obstacles and hold themselves in every situation and field. From being teased for being effeminate to shopping for clothes, the child will face pressure every time. Do you question yourself when you buy a skirt for your daughter or a shirt for your son? It is so innate that you do not realise that you are a part of the problem.
This is not to say that the parents are incapable of raising their children. But it is a serious reminder to all the parents that they must begin taking an initiative to learn more and learn better.