Eps 493: The gender journey with Alanna Beebe

Episode 493

My guest today is my dear friend and the cofounder & managing director at Sproutable, Alanna Beebe!  You’ll recognize Alanna from the Art of Connected Parenting series we did earlier this year.  

I’m so excited that Alanna is here to kick off Pride!  Alanna is an amazing parent, and she’s here to share some of her child’s gender journey with us.  Alanna’s child, was born male, transitioned to female around age 3, and more recently has transitioned to nonbinary.  I have so many questions for Alanna, and although her child is still an elementary-schooler, we can still learn from so much Alanna does and how she holds space for her own child.  I ask how a 3 or 4 year old knows their gender, what going through this process was like for her as a mother, and where her fears & hopes are.  

We hit on a lot this week: inclusive conversations & language, the political aspects that play in, how to best support your kiddo when unkind or unsafe things happen, how to make sure your message of love is getting through, using gender-neutral language, and how it looks differently supporting transgender teens versus transgender children.  

Guest Description

Alanna Beebe is a certified Positive Discipline Educator. She has 15+ yrs in public health & early learning communications, and equity & social justice policy development. She is a current board member of FoxBox, helping families in long-term hospital stays. She is a former board member for WACAP (now HoltInternational.org), international and domestic adoption and foster placement agency. Alanna is also the managing director and cofounder at Sproutable.

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Takeaways from the show

  • Alanna shares her child’s gender journey with us
  • What age do kids start to notice and identify with a gender?  
  • What comes up for us as adults when we see our child(ren) questioning or transitioning their gender?  
  • How do we have those constant, hard conversations around gender?  
  • Making home a safe, loving place to come back to – as a parent, you are their safe space 
  • How to stop yourself from future tripping (spoiler: it comes back to teaching those life skills!) 
  • “All you have to do is love and accept the kid that’s in front of you.” 
  • Transitioning is not rebelling!   
  • What happens when we pushback?  What happens when we give them space? 
  • Supporting transgender teens & adolescents (even when we’re feeling fearful & unsure)


“Children cannot be what they cannot see. It’s about all of us. We cannot be a better society until we see a better society. I cannot be in the world until I can see myself in the world.”

~Disclosure, documentary


What does joyful courage mean to you

In the context of the gender journey, it reminds me of the idea from Brene Brown – I love Brene Brown, if you haven’t read or listened to her, she’s amazing.  It reminds me of the idea that in order to be brave or to have courage, we have to have fear.  We can’t be courageous, we can’t be brave, if we don’t have fear, right?  So we all have some fear.  There’s always going to be that place, and if we aren’t afraid, that’s not courageous.  That’s why these courageous conversations come up.  What if, not only, did we show up with courage, but we also found joy and lightness in that?  Instead of getting dragged down by the fear, would we be happier?  Would we be more playful?  More present with our kids?   Would we be able to let go a little bit more of our control over life and others?  Just to be and experience and open our eyes to truly see the beauty and diversity and difference that is out there because I think if you ask parents,”Do you want your kid to just be a cookie cutter, general human being?”  They would say, “No, my kid is unique and special.”  And they are!  All kids, all humans are unique and special, so let’s let them be who they are and show support, and be part of a world that celebrates that difference and that diversity.  Right now it might feel courageous, brave, or scary, but at the end, there’s that joy, that happiness. 

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gender, kids, espen, pronouns, alana, parents, world, people, transgender, binary, aspen, teenagers, happen, kiddo, space, families, years, journey, fear, expression
Alanna Beebe, Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:02
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together. While parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people and when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead at Sprout double. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is an interview and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:23
Hey everybody, welcome back to the pod. My guest today is Alana Alana BB. Alana is a certified positive discipline educator. She has 15 plus years in public health and early learning communications and equity and social justice policy development. She is a current board member at Foxbox helping families in long term hospital stays. She's a former board member for W AC AP. I wonder if you say wacap I don't have a calf. Okay, yeah, now known as Holt international.org, which is an international and domestic adoption and foster placement agency. Alana is also the Managing Director and co founder at Sprout double, as well as my good friend. Hi, Alana. Welcome to the pod.

Alanna Beebe 02:12
Hi, Casey. Thanks for having me.

Casey O'Roarty 02:15
I mean, you're not new to the podcast. You're not new to the podcast feed listeners. If you follow the art of connected parenting series, then you've already met Alana. Yeah, so

Alanna Beebe 02:26
what if you have them back? You should go and listen to them? Because they're really good. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 02:30
for sure. For sure. It was the series that was put out on the joyful courage feed, featuring Alana and myself and our other co founder, Julieta Scoob, geeking. Out on connected parenting, what that means to us what we believe our own personal stories is a really fun series. So yeah, just scroll back a little bit. You'll see there were six different episodes. I am so happy to have you here. Thank you for having me. Time. I just think you are so brilliant. I tell you this all the time. There's so much that I could pick your brain about and what we are digging into is personal to you. And I think it'll be really useful for listeners and timely because this show is launching us into Pride Month. Yeah,

Alanna Beebe 03:17
Happy Pride Month, everyone.

Casey O'Roarty 03:19
Happy Pride, Happy Pride. So yeah, so let's just get right into it. You have this incredible kid out at home that you are raising and loving and enjoying. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about Aspen?

Alanna Beebe 03:33
Yes. So my kiddo is seven years old at this time and in first grade. And oh my gosh, you know, it's such a journey going from the infant to early elementary school where you just get to see this beautiful person bloom in front of you and get to know them. And it's so special. And the reason I'm here on the podcast today is to talk about as good as gender journey. So I think that's what's the most relevant, but my kid is so funny, and so hilarious and just kind of magnetic. I am not a magnetic personality. And Casey you are and Julieta is for sure.

Casey O'Roarty 04:15
You just have to open your mouth more. And then it's like what? Tell me more about the zillion stories and lifetimes that you've lived Ilana. So don't sell yourself short.

Alanna Beebe 04:25
You know, like, some people are like magnets, right? And my kids, one of those people, and it's just so cool to see. And they you know, like, as you see your kid unfold, they're like, oh, yeah, this and that. And their personality gets deeper and more complicated. And yet those like core things are still there. So it's just been such a cool journey in general, seeing them grow up. And essence journey has been interesting because as most born male, and so we went you know, long, you know, assuming Espen was male until they're about three years old. And that's when Espen came out and transitioned to female. And I'll talk More about the whole story.

Alanna Beebe 05:01
But just the short synopsis is that this was around three years old. And then now through the kindergarten, first aid and transition, we've transitioned into non binary. And so now we're on the non binary journey as well. It's just been such a beautiful gender journey for my kid, it's just been so cool seeing them, just, you know, just being like, Hey, this is who I am. And this is how I'm going to be and so sure about who they are, you know, through this whole process. And that's been Yeah, we'll talk more about it. But it's been just so beautiful, getting to know them and seeing like, all these bits and pieces of them all there. You know,

Casey O'Roarty 05:37
I mean, I just don't think that there is a cooler kid on the planet than Espen. Every time I see pictures of so then I'm like, damn, because that coat choice like the Mohawk, oh, my god leather jacket with patches sapling? That's exactly the code that I'm referring to. Yes. And I want to just acknowledge everyone who's listening that, yeah, when I have interviews, we're typically talking about teenagers. But the thing that I love that I'm so drawn to about your story, Alana, that I think is applicable, regardless of the age of your kid, is the space that you have intentionally chosen to give to Espen to be in their expression. And the way you show up for them, regardless of if it's three, or seven, or 13, or 17, or 25, or whenever our kids are coming out to us with whatever it is that's going on with them. I think there's something really to learn, and to pay attention to around how you hold space for Aspen. So I just want to acknowledge that. Thank you. And, yes, you're welcome. And I asked you recently about this, we were at a dinner, and there was somebody else at the dinner who was talking about their baby. And I was noticing in the talking about the baby, the person didn't speak the pronouns, they stayed really general, but general, non binary with pronouns,

Alanna Beebe 07:06
they are using gender neutral by Thank you,

Casey O'Roarty 07:09
thank you, this is what Alon is good for reminding me how to use language in a more effective way. Right? They're using gender neutral pronouns. And I caught on to that. And then I asked you, you know, what was your conscious? Did you make a conscious decision to keep things gender neutral? I mean, you just said like, we assumed that spin was going to be what they were assigned at birth as far as biological sex went, what did your language sound like with Aspen? And how did Espen even know to at three? I'm sure you, you know, like, there's a lot of conversation like, how does a three year old No, like, why wouldn't they but talk about that? Yeah,

Alanna Beebe 07:48
absolutely. Well, luckily enough, I was part of Scrabble. And we had already done some q&a videos on our YouTube channel, around gender and how to talk to young kids about gender. And I think I was pregnant, maybe when I recorded those videos, or ask them this really little, maybe a baby. So I think I felt like equipped to start those conversations really early. And so we always had that conversation. In the beginning, there's a film called disclosure, and it's a documentary, it's really good. And there's a quote in there that says, something close to this, which is our kids can't be in the world, what they can't see, like they need to be able to see so they can test things. I'm trying to figure out who they're going to be right you see all the different expressions and opportunity as an option. So that was kind of the theme of, you know, the gender conversation with my kid from very little so, you know, as kids start to get older around like to Espen had a language super early. So they were speaking in sentences, like one or two or

Casey O'Roarty 08:52
they were like, give me that leather jacket mom. Yeah.

Alanna Beebe 08:58
So many to you know, they're getting curious about bodies and differences. They notice, you know, girls, boys, gender differences, all this stuff. So they're starting to ask, you know, instead of just being like, oh, yeah, you know, boys have penises, whatever. We're trying to be very inclusive. So we had books that talked about gender. I had this book, it feels good to be yourself. And it talks about a kid who's transgender and then also the brother who's cisgender. And then also other kids who are non binary, and it just shows all the different ways of being gender in this world. And we would say things like, yeah, a lot of boys have penises, but some boys have bull buzz. And a lot of girls have Volvo's but some girls have penises. And some people have bull, you know, referring to intersex people and just trying to be inclusive. So you know, it's just like as it comes up, you know, you just talk about in a more inclusive way and just include that when you talk about family dynamics. You know, some families, there's just one mom sometimes there's one dad sometimes there's two dads and there's two moms and there's there's three You know, like, there's all kinds of families out there, there's a grandma and a mom, maybe are the parents, you know, like, that's just how, you know, we can talk about things, right? So it's like, kids see this and they recognise that it exists in the world. And then your question around, you know, three years old. So scientifically, because I love science, or you do ticularly. So it always comes up.

Casey O'Roarty 10:21
I'm always like this, how I feel you're like, Well, this is what the science says.

Alanna Beebe 10:27
So science says that gender forms in the brain around three and solidifies around four. So three and four years old, is the time when that's why kids are really asking and steamed gender, particularly. And it's because their brains also forming in that way, as well. And now when I say that, you know, it's not concrete, it's not like, oh, there's like this female part that forms or this male part because gender is a spectrum. And the brain actually looks like this, like, beautiful, like, lit, colourful spectrum. But you know, when they have done brain scans of, you know, transgender people, they look aligned within the spectrum of the sex that are the gender that is their gender. So it's just so fascinating. So that starts to happen at three and four years old. So it's not too early, you know, it's not too early to talk to your kids when they're really little. Yeah. And it forms through your lifetime. You know, it's not something that's like, it's done, right? And you know, that with teens, right, they're forming their identity. And they're going through this whole process, like their brains changing, developing too. And I imagine, I'm not a neuroscientist, but I imagine those gender and those other patterns in the brain are also developing, they're also changing, they're also flexing,

Casey O'Roarty 11:38
well, in that just, you know, the difference between a kid like Espen, and maybe someone who's 1314 15, and declaring or exploring gender is, you know, maybe it took until middle or high school for them to even be exposed to the idea. But I My guess was those kids in some way had like, listeners can't see me, but I'm like, kind of squiggling like, it's like, they were Yeah, felt like they were wearing a shirt that was too small. Like it didn't fit, right.

Alanna Beebe 12:09
Yep. And if you don't know, it's even a thing. Yeah. How do you know what it is? You know? Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 12:15
Yeah. So in those early years, is Aspen sweet Espen was expressing their feelings about gender and what they thought and I love just their declaration. Yeah, I mean, what was that experience? I mean, I know you're pretty much the Buddha. But what was your experience? Like? I mean, what fears come up? Do fears come up? I'm sure listeners are trying to put themselves I'm sure it's happening, where they're like, Okay, what would I do? What would I say? What would I be nervous about? So what came up for you, even as you made this conscious effort to create an environment that was really inclusive? What did you notice inside of you that you got to work through?

Alanna Beebe 12:53
Well, I know that there are in general, you know, fears around, you know, Kid finding love and being happy. And, you know, there's plenty of information out there saying that your transgender child is going to be depressed and suicidal, you know, there's plenty of information out there that will definitely point to that for you. But I believe in a different world. I believe that in the same way, when we were growing up, and the gay rights movement was happening, and a lot of people, like my age, were coming out as gay, it was still a scary time to do that. You know, and look how much it's changed, right? So I just have, like, I have this hope for the future, that we're already creating the new world, and that our kids that are coming out, now, they already exist, and accepted in that world, you know, and so my fears aren't really around Espen. And what's going to happen for them, my fears, and stresses were more around being like making other people uncomfortable. And you know, having to have those hard conversations constantly. And like a, just a generic conversation, for example, when people know that you had a boy, and all of a sudden, you're saying she heard, you're all of a sudden talking about gender rights. And it's political. And you're just trying to talk about your kid, you know, trying to like answer a simple question at like, the doctor's office. Right, or maybe at the grocery store or something, and it's just becomes a thing. So the message, you know, as a female growing up in this world, like don't make waves don't make people uncomfortable. Try to keep everyone feeling safe is a hard thing to be a mom of a transgender non binary kid, and talk about your kid at all in public and keep people comfortable, you know, right. Right. That was the only thing really that was a stressor for me and also a gift.

Casey O'Roarty 14:50
I kind of knew how you were going to answer that question. And I think that we have this there's a privilege, right? In the fact that of where you live, yes, right. And living in a space that living in an area, a city, even though inside of the city, there's plenty of, you know, all sorts of different ideas and beliefs in general. And I live in the same kind of space up here in Bellingham, it is so LGBTQI a friendly, and, you know, I just want to acknowledge that, that exists. And I have worked with families who are in parts of the country, United States that it is not friendly. And you know, the vast majority of the people in the community are not pro gay and gender rights. And I mean, even on the national stage, like, oh, so I love and thank you for inviting all of us into just the mindset of living in a different possibility, right, and trusting and believing in a different possibility. I think that ultimately, we the parent generation, we get to be in the creation of that for all kids. You know, my kids are both sis and straight. And I get to hold space for all kids, and do my work for all kids, right? Absolutely. Yeah. And I have this question written down. I'm not even like, I know, you don't do any future tripping. So how do you maintain that though, like, when you do turn on NPR, we have a great public radio station here in the Pacific Northwest. Dude, you're not and you hear what's happening in places like Florida and places where I mean, there's plenty to choose from, but specifically to gender rights. How do you maintain that positive headspace? What are your tools and strategies for that?

Alanna Beebe 16:44
Well, I think there's two angles here. First, the most important thing for me is that my child knows that their home space is always loving and accepting, they always have a safe place to go back to, because the world isn't simple. And it's not like happy little peace loving people jumping around, like, no matter who you are, regardless of you know, it's a gender thing, or sexuality. Or maybe you have red hair, or you have a big mole on your face or something like that, no matter what, like people can be hurtful and mean to you. And I mean, we live in a reality that, you know, people are really can be really in an unsafe situation that is real. That's absolutely real. And so I think the most important thing is that in Aspen's home and family, my kids have a family, they are loved and accepted, and they always have a safe place to be, you know, it's like that piece is really important. And then the future tripping piece is the same for everything, which is, What skills does my kid need to navigate this world? Right? So what do they need, they need to have strong self esteem, advocacy skills, they need to know how to communicate in a way that's not hurtful or abrasive, or, you know, like, there are ways in which you need to be in the world, but I don't want my child to be smaller or hide who they are, because it's unsafe, I just want them to know how to be safe, and then also how to navigate that, and what are those skills. So that's how I avoid the future tripping. And it's like anything, like, even if your kid is cisgender, even if you know, your kid doesn't fall into some of these categories, they still need this stuff. There are still people out there that will get bullied, you know, we're having issues with social media and all of that, what skills do those kids need? When kids are bullying them on social media? Yeah, what do they need, if someone's trying to do sex trafficking, you know, for them, like, those are the things that our kids need. So they need to know who they are, they need to be strong in that need to be able to advocate for themselves, you know, they need to be independent, they need to have these skills, and they need to be able to recognise safety and unsafe thing, right for themselves, and how to get them out and know where they can go to be safe. Right. So those are the skills that I lean on. And it doesn't like, that's not really the gender conversation, but that's why I'm not future tripping, because it's more like, oh, what skills does my kid need? Here's how we're gonna do that.

Casey O'Roarty 19:09
Because you have a kid, you have a kid? Well, it's so interesting. So I was at therapy this morning. And I was reflecting on when Ben was sick, and how there were definitely people in my life, who when I would get on the phone with them, they would put themselves in my shoes, and they would be freaking out. And it was almost like, they wanted me to be freaking out because they would be freaking out if that was their situation. And I had to really like my list of people that I would talk to during that time got really small because I felt okay, like, right. Yeah, I was worried, of course, but I wasn't willing to live inside of future tripping for a possibility that is uncertain, you know, and I wonder it's, it's just off the cuff because I'm thinking about it. But does that happen? Do you feel like there are people in your life or people that you start talking to that immediately go into their own future tripping and cry? I never want you to go there with them. Oh, absolutely,

Alanna Beebe 20:02
especially in the early conversations with not really my friends, but more importantly, where I would go in immediately into, you know, Oh, you were three year olds transgender? Well, as long as you don't start hormones, I was like, why would you give a three year old hormones like, your kids don't have hormones at three, that's a teenager thing. Like, that's not even part of the conversation, you know, are like, freaking out about this or, like, you know, what, if they can't get married, or what if they want to live somewhere else, or what you know, like, you can have your own process and own time over there, but that's not what I'm gonna focus on, I'm gonna focus on loving my kid who they are right now. And knowing that they get taught this safety of love and acceptance around them. And like, that's the most important thing. You know,

Casey O'Roarty 20:43
I love that. And, you know, you keep saying acceptance. And so I know that there are people that are listening, who have kids that are all over the gender spectrum, and a lot of them, possibly parents, parents that I've talked to, they don't understand, because they haven't had the experience of being in question of their gender. And, you know, it makes me think about when Rowan was really navigating depression. And I didn't have to know how it felt to be depressed to love her and accept her through it. And so what I say to parents is, you don't have to understand, you don't have to, it doesn't have to make sense to you. All you have to do is love and accept the kid in front of you, and be open to learning from them. Right and about them. What do you want to say to the parents that are out there that are listening, that are just really feeling and that are feeling fearful that are just like, Wait, I don't get this? This is new to me. I don't live in Seattle. What is going on? What's

Alanna Beebe 21:44
happening? What's going on? With my GED? Yeah, yeah, I like to go back to, you know, this Adlerian site concept of significance and belonging. You know, Adler said that all humans want to feel significance and belonging, significance. I mean, I matter I contribute and belonging, meaning I'm connected to others, and especially for our young kids. And I think there's a misconception that, you know, kids or teenagers or whatever are transitioning are going to be non binary, or whatever, you know, because they're like, rebelling, or pushing back or, you know, maybe like trying to hurt their parents or trying to be like their friend or something like that. And I think there's a lot of questioning, especially as kids get older, and it's coming out, right, like, Where's this coming from? It must be that one friend, you know, right. They're non binary. So now they are two,

Casey O'Roarty 22:33
because they're seeing on on tick tock, and therefore they

Alanna Beebe 22:36
must be. But here's the thing, we all want to belong, right? We all want to feel that sense of belonging and connection. And I just think that when our children are picking something, right, like when they're telling you about their gender journey, when they're coming out and saying this, they're not like picking that because they're like, just rebelling, like, they're actually feel that inside, like that is important to them. And they inherently know themselves, that it's serious, because every message from society is telling them that non binary people and transgender people don't exist, and it's not real. And it's not okay. And it's not accepted. And it's not part of the community. Like it's an outsider thing, right? So when your kids are choosing something that's like the outsider thing, choosing when your kids are telling you that there's something that's an outsider thing, I think it's like really going against that idea of connection, like they want to connect, it would be so much easier for everyone to just be like, oh, yeah, I'm just binary, and I'm part of the binary whatever bla bla bla, going to 345789 year olds, like, I am actually girl, I'm actually boy, I'm non binary, I am blah, blah, blah, you know, like they're choosing something that's, that's hard, and opposite of the message that they're getting from everyone else. You know, and that's not something that's easy to sit in. And it can be, it can be easy. But if we question our kids and tell them that it's not true, or that we need proof to know from them, or from somewhere else, then we're sending the message that we don't believe them, and that we don't accept them and love them for who they are in that way. Right. And like, if they show up that way, then we must not love that they have to, like prove to us that that's who they are. Right? Like, you have to prove to someone who you are right, when we're going through our life and trying to figure out who we are. Yeah, but kids need to, you know, have this expression and that this freedom, this openness to really figure it out, and if gender is a spectrum, and it's not like, Oh yeah, I'm this this, this this, you know, so clear, it might be really clear and easy for some people and it might not be as clear for others and they might need more space and time to figure it out, depending on where they are in the spectrum and that's okay. And if you can't see it in the world, there are a lot of examples for you then that's a little hard, but, you know, when a kid's having like a little kids having tantrum or maybe like teenagers rebellion or whatever, you know, their expression, right of like their tantrum or whatever their rebellion to their parents, like if you're questioning them and tried to squash it or tell them that that's not true or it's not real, right, they're either going to internalise it, right and just squash it, or it's gonna get bigger and louder until you see them, they just want you to see them. And so if you want to avoid that power struggle, and you want it to be a real expression and their real process and their real space, and give them the space to have it, right, when you push back, you're creating that situation for them to like, dig in deeper, or squash it completely. So if you let go and give them that space, and they can try different expressions of themselves, they can figure out what it is they can find their place. And they'll know that you love them, and that you accept them, that you love them no matter what, like, is the message of love getting through to them do or is that what they're hearing from you when they're like I'm non binary. And you're like, I don't know what that is. How could you be non binary? Right? That's

Casey O'Roarty 26:04
not real. Yeah.

Alanna Beebe 26:05
Right. Is the message of love getting through? Like, are you telling them I don't love you if you're non binary? Because I think that's what they're hearing, to be honest.

Casey O'Roarty 26:18
When I think about the statistics, right, and the that are scary and heartbreaking for kids that, you know, are LGBTQIA, I believe. And I think you do, too, the antidote to those statistics is exactly what you're talking about love and acceptance. Do

Alanna Beebe 26:38
they have a safe place? To be them? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you are as a parent caregiver, you are that safe space for them to experience all those little bits and pieces of themselves, whether it's gender, whether it's their art, whether it's you know, how they express themselves, their clothes, or their jewellery, or their hair or whatever, just give them that space, right. And in turn, like, what a gift, you get to also turn back on yourself, and love all the little bits of yourself too. Because I think that that is that cyclical thing that we do as humans, when we haven't accepted all the pieces of ourselves and with every little piece of ourselves. We also are really hard on our kids, because we're like, you have to actually meet this. So people will love you, right? means that what we're actually saying, like, you can't do that or be that way because people won't love you or accept you anymore.

Casey O'Roarty 27:31
Yeah, yeah. Well, and I wonder, too, so something that came up on an interview I did with Dr. Shefali. I don't remember if it was her on my podcast, or when I was a part of her Summit. But we did talk about, you know, like, in some families, sexual expressions, gender expression, bumps up against could be bumping up against religious beliefs or political beliefs. And I loved what she said, which was, you need to love your kid more than you love your religion or your political beliefs. Like, yeah, full stop. Right? I mean, our

Alanna Beebe 28:10
kids need our love and our acceptance. Yeah, or what, no matter what, I'm not a religious person. And I'm sure that, you know, other people might push back on that, but you're probably not listening to this. At this point.

Casey O'Roarty 28:22
Yeah, I found my fucks and shits, and

Alanna Beebe 28:28
it's just yeah, it's just, I believe that we all need to imagine the kind of world and future that we want our kids to be growing into. And we need to live in that. And we need to be there for our kids. No matter what a great pain it is, for us, no matter how hard it is to use they them pronouns, you know, we can do it, we can grow. It's

Casey O'Roarty 28:50
not that hard. I call bullshit on it being bad. Hi. I didn't articulate

Alanna Beebe 28:55
it, James. Yeah, you know, and it's practice, it's practice, like anything else, we're not going to show up perfectly. And that's okay. And that's actually better for our kids. Because when we make a mistake, than we correct it and actually with STEM stronger in it, like, for example, when my kiddo and I are out in public, and I will gender someone that I don't know. And when I catch myself and say, Oh, I just assumed that person, he him pronouns. I should have said they them and I repeat it, would they then pronouns, right, then it's me saying, like, I'm on board with this, you know, like, I caught it and made a mistake, and I'm calling it out, and I'm on board with this. So it's okay. It's okay to make mistakes. So

Casey O'Roarty 29:36
do you always use them?

Alanna Beebe 29:40
In general, if I don't know people? Yeah, I'm trying, I'm practising this. It's a practice. And I noticed that so much more now. You know, it helps to and actually, they'll do that too. Sometimes we'll gender people like, Oh, do you know? Oh, actually, I don't, but they usually catch me more often than I catch them and sometimes It's interesting when my kiddo values they them pronouns for people, even if they know their gender is like, she, her or he him. Like, that's her pronouns. They'll say them sometimes. And I liked that, because it just it is it's just could be for everyone at anyone, you know, regardless. So I just think it's such a cool perspective that I get to see through my kids eyes and how they see the world. And it's a practice for me to.

Casey O'Roarty 30:26
Well, and it's interesting to just kind of think about all the times that we use those pronouns anyway, like, Not intentionally, we often use them, anyway. Yeah.

Alanna Beebe 30:35
Do you like find something lost? Right? Find? Yeah, stop the side of the street or whatever, and you don't know who belongs to and you're like, Oh, yeah. return this to them? Yes. Yeah. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 30:44
they left this on the side of the road. Maybe we should find out whose it is? Yeah. Ah, well, like I'm thinking about, you know, what comes up for you, as you know, in the families that you, you know, as Ben goes to this really cool summer camp, and I know that you mingle, you know, because of Aspen's expression, I'm making an assumption that you have, like more access into the world of transgender and non binary. And so when you talk to families, with kids that are older, that are teenagers, or, you know, people that come to you, what are some of the things that are struggles for them? Or where do you see their growth edges when their kids are teenagers, and coming out as trans or non binary? You

Alanna Beebe 31:26
know, I'm gonna say right now, I'm not the expert in this just to be clear first. So here's where I see, there's definitely the main one, which is why now as a teenager, in this rebellious time, it's probably a rebellion, it's probably not real, you know, like, it's probably part of that. That's definitely a push back in a growth edge, like, can you believe it? Like, is it believable? Do I really believe them? Peace, and I think for teenagers is so hard, because they're trying on so many things, right? You know, they really are trying on so many things. But if we can accept, because that's also a time that they're trying on so many things. And we aren't really, if we can let go of our fear of what it means to be transgender and non binary in the world. Doesn't really fucking matter. Does it really matter if they are non binary or transgender or not? Does it even really matter? Yeah, it doesn't, right? It doesn't actually matter. If they try it on, and it doesn't work out for them. What if you tried on Bing?

Casey O'Roarty 32:26
I tried on being a sorority girl. It didn't work out for me.

Alanna Beebe 32:31
Were you trying to be gay or bisexual? Right? Yeah, a lot of us try that on. Yeah, maybe for some of us. Like, it was like, Oh, that was the opening to being gay. That was like, finally the safe space? And like, oh, my gosh, I haven't I just don't even know. You know, yeah. And so for some others, it wasn't. And that was okay. It's just that, like, when we can get rid of that fear layer, when we get rid of that and just hold that space, it doesn't feel so big. And we can give our kids that space to really dive into who they are, and practice that and try to figure it out for themselves. Right in that safe space. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 33:06
well, and that's what I love about your story with Aspen is Aspen declaring it, you know, I'm she her and then living inside of that, until it became actually by them. And I think that parents of teenagers who are exploring gender, immediately go into, oh, God, they're gonna want surgery and medication. And yeah, and we leap, we go too far ahead, right away. And then that gets in the way of what's happening in front of us. And so anybody who's out there, who's kind of in that place, I even had a client one time, it was like, you know, or her daughter was much older, her child. There you go, right. I can't quite remember the situation. So I'm gonna go neutral. Anyway, the child wanted, you know, was talking about surgery, and I had to remind the parent, well, she can't do that tomorrow. Like, there's gonna be a lot of steps that happen both if and when you get to that day,

Alanna Beebe 34:06
right? There's information out there that you can get their doctors out there, there's new families.org is amazing, where you can actually talk to an expert on this, and they will help you and support you in being a part of parenting groups, trans families.org, that, you know, so there's places for that, but no, it's not a tomorrow thing. It's not right away, you know, and even hormone blockers, you know, you just stop taking them in the hormones happen. You know, it's not like kids have hormone blockers now, because they hit their puberty so young that they're giving kids hormone blockers. So they don't go into puberty at seven years old, you know, like, so there's just like, not everything's tomorrow. I know. It feels like it's rushed in those teen years. But give your kids the space to be who they are, and get the information right and then have those conversations with your kids. Yeah, like be solution focus. Trying to figure it out, you know, yep, that's the best that you can do for everyone. And you're like, and if you show up with love and support and acceptance, right, your kids get to figure out who they are in that safe space. Regardless,

Casey O'Roarty 35:13
and all the things we talked about here, curiosity, encouragement, you know, getting under the surface of things not to fix, not to manipulate, but just simply to listen and understand and have a better picture, a bigger picture, a clearer picture of what's going on with your kiddo so that you can be who they need you to be. Ah, thank you, Alana. I love you, thank you so much for your generosity on sharing your story. I think it's so powerful, you know, because a lot of people live in a world where they don't have direct connections with people that are moving through, you know, their child's or a family members, gender journey. And so to hear directly from a source, I think can alleviate so much anxiety. And you are the perfect source, I think, because I know you're not an expert, and that's fine. Maybe perfect wasn't the right word. But you're such a powerful source. Because of the mindset that you choose to hold. I think it's so beautiful. And not just everyone, not just for the gender journey or the sexuality journey. But for all the freakin messiness that shows up in parenting, like, let's create the world that we want our kids to grow into, let's be present, let's love them and accept them regardless of what crazy ass thing they're doing. Not maybe not the right language, right? As long as they're safe,

Alanna Beebe 36:38
right? And they'll be safe if you've been helping them with the life skills that they need. And you've been loving them and accepting them along the way. They'll be safe. So

Casey O'Roarty 36:46
in this context, Ilana, what is joyful courage mean to you? Ah, you've seen many answers to this. I have seen

Alanna Beebe 36:54
many answers. Yeah, I was thinking about this. In the context of the gender journey. It reminds me of idea that, you know, Brene Brown, I love Brene Brown, so little bit of Bernie Browns work. If you haven't, read her, listen to her. She's amazing. That reminds me of that idea that in order to be brave, or to have courage, we have to have fear. We can't be creative. We can't be brave, if we don't have fear, right? So we all have some fear, we're always like, there's always going to be that place. And if we aren't afraid, you know, that's not courageous. Like, that's why these conversate courageous conversations come up. So what if not only did we show up with courage, right? But we also found joy and lightness in that, instead of getting drugged down by the fear? Would we be more happy? Would we be more playful? Will we be more present with our kids? Would it be able to let go a little bit more of our control over life, and others just to be an experience, and open our eyes to like, truly see the beauty that is out there? All the beauty and the diversity and the difference that is out there? Because I think if you ask parents, do you want your kid to just be like a cookie cutter? General, you know, human being, they would say no, my kids unique. You know, my kids unique and special. And they are all kids. All humans are unique and special. Like, let's let them be who they are, and show and display and support and be part of a world that celebrates that difference in that diversity. And right now it might feel courageous or brave or scary, right? But at the end, there's that joy, that happiness. Right?

Casey O'Roarty 38:43
So good. You need your own podcast Ilana cadence for it. I feel like I just said a sermon is so good. Where can people find you and follow your work?

Alanna Beebe 38:56
They can find routable.com. That's right. And I don't write much, but I do have blogs about my kids journey. And so we'll post that link up here. And we could post the trans families as well for resources. And you can absolutely reach out to me anytime I'm usually the person behind the general emails on the website Info Geek spreadable.com So you can reach out and I'll answer your questions and if you're going through this with your kiddo I'm happy to help.

Casey O'Roarty 39:27
Thank you so much. Thank you so much for spending time with me. This is amazing.

Alanna Beebe 39:31
Thank you

Casey O'Roarty 39:38
thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at bees profitable.com to Going back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday peace

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