A viral tweet is earning one parent a standing ovation. Artist Jay Jackson, whose Twitter profile describes them as "24y/o non-binary artist by day and barista also by day," took to the social media site on August 13 to share heartening details of an incident that occurred at work.
“At work a kid asked me if I was a boy or a girl so I said ‘neither’ and their parent explained that some people are ‘he’, some are ‘she’ and others are ‘they,'" Jackson tweeted. “The kid replied that they had never thought of that, and the parent said they could think about it more together later.” Jackson noted: “Parenting done right, I welled up, my coworkers were emotional, it was everything.”
At work a kid asked me if i was a boy or a girl so i said "neither" & their parent explained that some people are "he", some are "she", and others are "they" - the kid replied that they had never thought of that, and the parent said they could think about it more together later— jay jackson (@campbutch) August 13, 2018
Jackson told The Independent that "it was a lovely and heartwarming interaction to have," and one that they wish was more common. "I was nervous to respond to the kid's question at all because of how the parent might react, but they were asking so politely and curiously so I just blurted it out as simply as I could," they explained. "It's so lovely to know there are parents like that out there who are raising their kids to be open to different identities."
They were also heartened by the fact that the encounter wasn't like others they've had before along the same lines. "I regularly come out as non-binary to people and am met by blank faces or strange looks, so to casually mention it like that expecting a bit of confusion or awkwardness and have it met by a really considered answer was touching,” Jackson told HuffPost UK.
Their advice to other parents who may find themselves in the same position or want to discuss non-binary gender with their L.O.? "Just realizing that kids can understand these concepts and that they are not born inherently against them is important,” they said.
A great deal of the response—which includes 317K likes and more than 41K reteweets—has been hugely positive.
It's also touching to see the incredible downstream effect of Jackson's tweet: People have been contributing to a GoFundMe, started by Jackson and their partner Reuben Lisgarten, who is also transgender and non-binary. The couple are raising money for fertility treatment to have a child together. And the story is also raising awareness around organizations like UK-based Mermaids, which supports parents of trans and gender non-conforming children.
Although there are helpful resources for parents (like this article on being respectful and supportive of non-binary people from the National Center for Transgender Equality), Jackson's tweet—and their coworker's awesome convo with their child—is only serving to further promote acceptance and understanding. Bravo to that!