Understanding and Supporting LGBTQ Girls

Dr. Jordan’s observations about girls questioning their sexuality & gender identity to help parents better understand & support their daughters.

Show Notes:

Girls who QUESTION their sexuality

I’m seeing more and more adolescent girls who are questioning their sexuality. Most of these girls feel confused, stressed & anxious because they aren’t sure what they are feeling & what it means long-term. Their parents and teachers often feel confused, some are angry, and are unsure of how to best support them.

LGBTQ girls experience more mental health problems

Research has found that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience stress and fear in school than their non-LGBTQ+ peers, resulting in bullying, verbal harassment, and physical assaults. It’s no wonder these kids experience more depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts than their non-LGBTQ peers.

My intention for this podcast is to give you some education about this issue, but mostly to offer you my observations about what I have seen & heard from girls in the past several years to help you better understand your daughters & their friends.

Understanding labels & pronouns

Dr. Jordan clears up misconceptions about the many new labels that these girls come to them with, i.e. gender queer, bisexual, pansexual, gender-nonconforming, queer, transgender, or cisgender. Dr. Jordan also discusses the use of different pronouns that girls prefer.

When a girl tells you they identify with one of these labels, I encourage you to always ask them what that means exactly for them; some are misinformed; confusing labels, better to describe feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Why so many girls are questioning their sexuality

Most of the LGBTQ girls I work with are in questioning their sexuality; i.e.  they are in the process of understanding and exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and gender expression. Dr. Jordan describes many reasons why girls are undergoing this questioning process.

How to support your daughter

I tell girls to relax & take the pressure off, they don’t need to KNOW now, let life unfold more & their sexual orientation will become more obvious as they get into later teens & beyond.

Girls need safe spaces to talk about their feelings & thoughts; keeping secrets creates a lot of stress & anxiety, get caught in their heads ruminating worst-case scenarios; talking about it moves them from amygdala to verbal centers & PFC, reason supplants emotions. Secrets make girls feel alone, isolated, lead to fear and panic, depression, they think they are the only one.

How parents can remain an influence in their daughter’s life

Girls need their parents to be nonjudgmental, caring listeners; to be a sounding board, and to remain an influence in their lives.

Sometimes the girls are clear about who they are, have embraced it, but those around them haven’t & that mismatch is what causes them anxiety & stress & anger. We are all always becoming, never done growing or changing, okay to not be “there” yet, learn to embrace their growth & the uncertainty that comes with it.

Contact Dr. Jordan: www.drtimjordan.com

For more information on terminology and resources for kids in the LGBTQ community, check out this site: © 2014 Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network www.glsen.org 

Understanding LGBT kids article


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