It’s hard not to feel frustrated and angry when someone says close-minded things. And sometimes, it’s truly not worth the energy to give a kind response to these offensive comments. But at other times? These comments can turn into a teaching moment for everyone involved.
Rain Dove is a non-binary model from Vermont. Like many public figures, they regularly receive unkind or even violent messages from strangers on Instagram. Rain’s policy is to remain unwaveringly compassionate, no matter the message.
On one recent occasion, Rain’s kindness actually helped the mother of a gender-diverse child learn and grow in her understanding of her child.
The mom explains that her daughter asked for a binder for her chest for Christmas.
“How are You feeling about it?” Rain asks. “Does it feel a bit heavy?”
The mom replied honestly that she feels like her child hates her body because of “perverts” like Rain. But Rain remains kind, understanding, and complimentary.
By the mom’s replies, you can see that she is initially taken off-guard by Rain’s kindness. But ultimately, they are able to get on the same page.
“The reason a binder is great is because they are medically much a safer option than alternatives your kid may be turning to when you’re not around,” Rain explains. “Binding with ace bandages, tape, and even torn fabric. It can lead to broken ribs, lacerations and lung deformation if the material isn’t stretchy.”
They go on to explain why someone might need to bind: for many reasons “from gender dysphoria to social discomfort.” Then they explain how, accepting her child at this moment could actually be a life or death matter.
“It may be confusing to You and even feel painful to witness but if You push them away when they are expressing vulnerable truths about themselves it could lead to self harm or even an environment for suicide,” they said. “Would You rather have Your child in your life or gone forever?”
In the end, the mother agreed to allow the binder, do more of her own research, and check back in with Rain if she has any questions.
“Thank you very much for talking me through without being angry,” she says. “I want her to live a life she loves that’s all.”
A happy ending!