DEAR ABBY: My 7-year-old granddaughter, "Leyla," has a playmate who is a transgender girl. My fear is that she may find out the truth and feel betrayed by her playmate as well as me. Should I explain it to her?
It doesn't matter to me that her friend is transgender because I have always believed that a person's most important trait is having good morals. I'm an upfront and honest person. However, with respect to this subject, I feel that if I remain silent, it's as though I'm somehow betraying my granddaughter.
Leyla is very accepting of all people, and I don't believe it would change her relationship with the child as long as I explain everything to her about people who are trans. Any advice would be appreciated. — PROGRESSIVE GRAN IN ARIZONA
DEAR GRAN: Do Leyla's parents know about the friendship? Assuming they do, have a chat with them, as well as the playmate's parents, to make sure you're all on the same page. I do not think you should "out" Leyla's playmate to her. But I DO think it is time you start talking to your granddaughter about gender and what makes a girl a girl and what makes a boy a boy.
At some point, her friend may feel comfortable enough about the friendship — and herself — to tell Leyla herself. When that happens, be prepared to answer any questions your granddaughter may have. PFLAG, an organization I have mentioned before in my column, is an excellent resource for LGBTQ issues and will be helpful to you if you reach out. Its website is pflag.org.
Published September 2020 around the nation and in the Gainesville Sun