I’ve been totally inspired by the recent mini series on ITV entitled ‘Butterfly’. It followed the dilemmas and conflicts of a family who is coming to terms with the fact their youngest child wishes to transition from being a boy to a girl.
It’s a subject I have no direct experience or knowledge of. But I could readily imagine the challenges people would face in a society made up of many who find it difficult to accept differences in others.
As home educators, some of us have already experienced the kind of bigotry and opposition that can ensue when you wish to forge a path that’s not considered ‘normal’! We came across several members of the public in the early days that considered our choices not only to be ‘weird’ but also detrimental to our children – happy as these people were to overlook the fact that their schooling was already harming them.
Thankfully home schooling is more widely known about, understood and has a rising awareness in the media. However, although there has been much in the media recently about gender identification and transition, I can imagine that many still find it hard to acknowledge and remain open about. And for those families experiencing it firsthand there must be many challenges beyond the comprehension of most of us, some of which the programme identified. The needs of a child who has a strong desire to transition are paramount but, as the programme identified, the impact of those needs reaches round the whole family and beyond, so we all could do well to improve our knowledge in order to learn how best we can be supportive and understanding.
Mermaids, an organisation who recognises transgender needs and supports families in this position, maintain that those with support go on to have the most positive outcomes. They have a variety of articles on their site to help increase understanding. And there is also some information about gender dysphoria on the NHS website.
As with everything outside of mainstream, and for every minority community, there is always much to overcome in order to move society towards an awareness and acceptance. I’m hoping this brave and enlightening programme has done some good in that direction.
And perhaps part of our job as parents is to support all children, not just our own, through our own attitude, awareness and acceptance, thus teaching our kids to do the same.
I’m certainly the wiser for it, as well as being inspired. I recommend a watch!