How do you talk with kids about LGBTQ stuff?
If you're Lindsay Amer, you sit down at a table with your best friend, Teddy, a stuffed bear, and have a conversation about queer topics.
Image via Queer Kid Stuff/YouTube, used with permission of Lindsey Amer.
<h2><a href="http://queerkidstuff.com/" target="_blank">Queer Kid Stuff</a> is an educational project that teaches young kids about LGBTQ issues.</h2><p>When Amer, 26, who uses they/them pronouns, toured a play during college to elementary schools, they learned how limited kids' access to LGBTQ topics can be. The play, "The Transition of Doodle Pequeño," is about a boy who likes to wear skirts, and the tour had to cancel at least one show because the community considered the topic controversial.</p><p>"That's kind of when I started to see that there was a real barrier for kids to this kind of work," explains Amer, who says they experienced that barrier growing up, too. As an androgynous kid who was mis-gendered constantly, Amer says, "I make Queer Kid Stuff for a young me as much as I make it for kids today."</p><h2>Queer Kid Stuff episodes are about five minutes long and taught at about a preschool level.</h2><p>Targeting a young audience felt important to Amer because kids start to learn and ingrain ideas about gender and binaries at a pretty young age. </p><p>"It's just about getting those ideas instilled early enough that you don't have to undo any negativity," says Amer. Some of the most popular episodes include topics such as "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq8DRz3yXLI" target="_blank">T is for Trans</a>," "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBZqmZAgoxo&t=181s" target="_blank">Why Is Pride in June?</a>" and "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxDUyXVxjzw&t=136s" target="_blank">Learn About Consent</a>."</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTUzMzg3Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjQ2MTE4OX0._NQb9nCCsmEBlh0aEsij3tk8WyihTKjTEyWy-adj-PU/img.jpg?width=980" id="e48ad" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="392c5aa8ec4cbc5e5df120361300d68c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"><small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption...">Image via Queer Kid Stuff/YouTube, used with permission of Lindsey Amer.</small></p><h2>While young kids may not grasp all the concepts and terminology, Amer says those aren't the focus — the show is about acceptance. </h2><p>"All they need to know is that they're OK being themselves, and everyone else is OK, and it's OK to be different," they say.</p><p><strong>It can be really difficult to restructure ways of thinking about gender, and a simplistic, broken down explanation about LGBTQ topics can be really helpful for <em>all</em> ages.</strong></p><p>"If you can really get to the core of what gender is and kind of reframe it for people, it's a lot easier for people to turn around and say 'Hmm, maybe what I've been thinking is not correct. Maybe what I was taught is not correct. Maybe I need to reframe this for myself,'" Amer says.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTUzMzg3OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNDg1NDE3MX0.MGx9B-_6DRfpCDSTq3OVBSFcj-FdZuDdP_uXWMjCGtY/img.jpg?width=980" id="c559b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="208b61c354a904e3bef3fd89b8b1cfdd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"><small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption...">Image via Queer Kid Stuff/YouTube, used with permission of Lindsey Amer.</small></p><p>That message is for everyone, not just queer kids. Learning about queer and trans issues so often is reactive, like after a classmate or neighbor or family member presents or identifies in a way that is confusing to a child. In those instances, kids and adults can sometimes say hurtful things or ask intrusive questions, which places an unfair burden on queer kids and their families to be constantly self-advocating and educating other people.</p><p>When people look to the Queer Kid Stuff videos wanting to understand a friend's or classmate's or family member's identity, the burden of education shifts from the queer person and their family to the curious person.</p><h2>Queer Kid Stuff videos help <em>all</em> viewers — queer identifying or not — to share the responsibility of becoming educated, empowered, and tolerant of all types of people.</h2><p>Queer Kid Stuff provides representation and positivity for LGBTQ kids. </p><p>But, Amer adds, "Their friends need to be on board, too. Their environment needs to be on board — they need to be in a safe space, it can't just be in front of that screen."</p><p>There's more progress to be made on and off screens, but Amer's work is opening minds in much needed ways. </p><p><strong>In honor of Pride Month, watch the Queer Kid Stuff video below and learn why we celebrate LGBTQ issues in June:</strong></p><div><div data-card="youtube" data-reactroot=""><div><span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a458a04b2a6f3938d98e5b2a23986693"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LBZqmZAgoxo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span></div></div></div>
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