When Kids Ask About Gender


Little kids are like scientists—observing and learning everything about the world around them and then asking questions (lots and lots of questions) about what they learn. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to figure out how to respond to those questions or observations, including questions about gender, gender identity and gender expression.

You may think your child isn’t ready to learn about gender, but according to the Mayo Clinic, “most children typically develop the ability to recognize and label stereotypical gender groups, such as girl, woman and feminine, and boy, man and masculine, between ages 18 and 24 months [full article linked below].” They are exposed to subtle messages from an early age and may ask or say things like: 

“Is that person a boy or a girl?” 

“Pink is for girls, not boys.” 

“Boys can’t be ballerinas.” 


Here are some resources to help you navigate these questions when they come up: 

For more information on talking about issues with your children, check out our post When Kids Ask about LGBTQ+ Issues.

Picture Books for Further Reading

Want to explore this more with your children? Try one (or more!) of these great picture books.

I See Me: Gender Identity

A list of picture books about children discovering who they are. Try these books with children who are exploring gender and for children who have questions about their friends and family.

LGBTQ+ Pride Through Picture Books

Read with pride! Choose from this selection of picture books that celebrate diversity in gender, sexuality and families to prompt conversations with young ones about embracing our different identities.