Dear Esther December 2021


My grandson is exploring his gender identity and has asked me to use the pronouns they/them when referring to him. I love him dearly and will continue to love him regardless of his gender identity or sexual orientation but I don’t understand why we can’t just love each other as individuals and stop putting labels on everything. I am struggling to understand this. 


Dear Bubbe, 

Let me begin by saying your grandson is lucky to have a thoughtful, caring Bubbe like you. Acknowledging the internal struggle is a huge step to acceptance. 

You asked why can’t we just accept everyone for the individual they are and not put a label on it? My answer is that one day we will let go of the labels and see everyone as individuals, but we aren’t there yet.  Society needs a period of time of questioning and having new labels in order to move towards a new, healthier norm.   Consider a clock pendulum and visualize it being to one side and the goal is to land in the middle. The pendulum will need to swing to the other side before it can land in the middle. This is society’s growing pains so to speak. You and I will likely not see the pendulum rest in the middle in our lifetime, but we can do our part by loving and supporting the people in our lives who are exploring their labels now.  

The best way to support your grandson is to love him by listening to his thoughts and feelings, educating yourself on gender identity and sexual orientation and possibly reach out to a local support group such as PFLAG. The most important thing to consider is keeping the conversations going and preserving your relationship with unconditional, non-judgmental Bubbe love. Use the pronouns he requested even if you don’t understand it and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your grandson will see that you are trying your best to support him and love you for it. 



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