WATCH: Mom and Young Trans Daughter Debunk Gender Roles Together

By Mitch Kellaway

Originally published on Advocate.com August 06 2014 1:55 PM ET

What does a transgender girl's transition mean for her mother? What should a mother teach her trans daughter about becoming a woman — and what limited gender scripts can she leave behind?

Recently, Marlo Mack, who is perhaps better known as parenting blogger GenderMom, wrestled with this question in an adorable cartoon that belies its deep questions about motherhood. The video, which is being circulated now by Upworthy, kicked off Mack's new podcast series, "How to Be a Girl."

Combining childlike stick-figure drawings and recordings of real conversations between Mack and her 6-year-old transgender daughter "M.," the video gives voice to the questions many parents of trans daughters may ask themselves.

"Other than letting her wear pretty dresses and using different pronouns, what has actually changed? What does this newly minted girl need to know?" Mack wonders. "What do I need to teach her about how to be a girl?" 

Such parental questions follow shortly after instances where M. demonstrates internalized notions about gender roles and femininity, such as a moment in the video where she narrates a make-believe outer space story, saying, "the girl alien does all the work while the boy alien sleeps and eats."

But, as Mack points out to her daughter, girls aren't limited to doing "all the work" while boys play; they aren't limited to certain jobs, appearances, or body parts either. So what decides who, or what, makes a girl? Perhaps, like Mack, it's best that viewers listen to M.

"Who gets to decide if you're a boy or girl?" Mack ends up asking her daughter. "Me!" the girl enthusiastically replies.

Watch more of their charming conversations below.

Contributor: 
Mitch Kellaway