Best casual conversation leading to a serious discussion you’ll read today

5-year-old daughter: “He’s the best brother ever!”

Dad: “Why?”

“He’s exactly like me!”

“Well, no, you have girl parts.”

“I know something about boys that Momma knows too.”


“He can go to the doctor and get surgery to become a girl.”

[raucous laughter from Mom in the next room]

Dad: “I hope he doesn’t need to have that surgery.”

My nurse-wife guesses our daughter overheard a conversation about women who have sex-change operations (while retaining their vaginas) and later give birth, and to the point, how hospitals might change their operating procedures if this becomes commonplace.

So Dad and Daughter sat down to talk a few minutes about how throughout history individuals who are different have usually been treated poorly by most people in a community, such as black people being enslaved (which we covered in a previous conversation).

And how most boys and girls grow up to like each other and get married, but some boys like boys, and some girls like girls, and some people even grow up feeling they should be a boy when they are a girl or the other way around. (We know of one such child who seems to be in that situation.)

And how these people today are the ones being treated poorly and how that’s wrong.

When Dad says he hopes his son doesn’t need that surgery it’s because of how other people would treat him, but that we would still love him.

This conversation was not too heavy for a 5-year-old. She assimilated the information quite easily.

Less than an hour later my wife waited in line at a pharmacy behind a transgendered individual who was picking up her hormone pills.


8 Responses to “Best casual conversation leading to a serious discussion you’ll read today”

  1. RobMonroe says:

    AJ – your conversations with your daughter are awesome – I hope that I can be as articulate as you are when these things come up with my little girl. (I agree with your content, you just seem to be able to say things better than I can!)

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

  2. Trisha says:

    I hope some readers don’t see this as an “only in Humboldt County” moment! There is so much for people all over the country to learn from our shared history and the current treatment of individual people.

    I also agree with the above comment. You do inspire parents to thoughtfully explain sensitive issues in ways that aren’t too weighty or emotional or negative for young children. Keep it up!

    January 8th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

  3. AJ says:

    No worries Trisha. I’ve referenced my location a few times, but no one really cares or pays attention to where I live. I will say that being in an interracial relationship, I wanted to live in a place where I never think about it and my kids would never be forced by others to think about it. Eighteen years going, so far so good.

    January 8th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

  4. Emma says:

    Awesome! I am very impressed.

    January 9th, 2010 at 9:18 am

  5. MIdge says:

    You do seem to be so comfortable having these conversations with your daughter.

    I always know what I WANT to convey, but often get flustered in the process.

    Thanks for posting. It helps me prepare (mentally) for when those conversations come up.

    January 9th, 2010 at 10:46 am

  6. Makayla says:

    You have no idea how encouraging it is to read this today. Thank you so very much! (((hugs)))

    Makayla, a transgender woman.

    January 9th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

  7. Margie says:


    January 14th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

  8. Jack says:

    Sounds like a conversation that could come up in my house.

    January 14th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

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