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by Abigail Van Buren

Transgender Playmate Poses a Challenge to Girl's Grandma

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

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Lgbtq | Gender Identity