(What you Need to Know!)
In the process of hiring and interviewing babysitters, you may meet a transgender babysitter. If you've never met a transgender person before, you might not know how to handle the situation appropriately.
A transgender babysitter is one whose gender identity is different than the sex they were assigned at birth. Aside from that detail, they are the same as any other babysitter. They aren't any more statistically likely to be violent or commit sexual abuse than any other babysitter.
In this article, I'll explain what a transgender person is. Then I will go over information on whether you should have any concerns about hiring a transgender babysitter, sensitive things to avoid asking them, and more.
What Is A Transgender Babysitter?
How would you react if you meet with a babysitter for an interview, and it turns out that they're transgender?
If you've only talked to them via text messaging or over the phone, you may have made some assumptions about their gender that don’t match up with their appearance when you meet in person.
If you are a parent who has never met a transgender person before, you may not be sure how to handle the situation—or even know what it really means to be transgender.
So What Is A Transgender Person, Exactly?
A transgender (sometimes shortened to "trans") person is someone who has a gender identity that's not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. They often feel that they've been trapped in the wrong body their entire life.
Transgender people may choose to go through medical procedures to transition from one sex to another. This can include the use of hormones to change their body chemistry, a variety of different sex reassignment surgeries, or plastic surgeries to make their physical aesthetics more traditionally masculine or feminine.
However, different transgender people may be at different stages of their transition or may choose not to medically transition at all.
A trans person may be "passing." In other words, you may not even be able to tell that they're transgender. In other cases, it may be confusing to you as to which gender identity someone associates with themselves.
If you aren't sure how to address a transgender person, it's best to use neutral "they/them" pronouns when referring to them instead of making an assumption about which "he/she" pronouns to use.
Would you hire a transgender babysitter? What about a male babysitter? See my article, Are Male Babysitters Safe? (Facts & Stats You Should Know), to see why you shouldn't be afraid to leave a guy in charge of your baby.
What Transgender Babysitters Aren't
If you've never met a transgender person before, you might make some incorrect assumptions about them. Or you may think you know but are actually just confused about exactly what it means to be transgender.
Either way, knowing a bit about transgender individuals in advance can help to eliminate some potential awkwardness for everybody involved. So here are some things that transgender people aren't.
Being transgender and being intersex are two completely different things.
An intersex person can differ from the standard male or female in a number of ways. They may have different chromosomes, sex hormones, or genitals than what fits the typical definition of male or female bodies (source).
You can think of intersex as being more of a physical thing. Whereas being transgender is more of a mental thing, where you don't identify with the body you were born into.
Crossdressing is wearing clothes that aren't typically associated with your gender.
Anybody of any sexuality or gender identity can crossdress. Today, it's most commonly seen as a form of self-expression or comfort. But in the past, it was used as a disguise for theatre, or for women who wanted to work a job typically reserved for men.
Usually, a crossdresser retains and wishes to remain as their gender identity. For example, a man may crossdress in women's clothing but still identify in every way as a man.
When a girl shows behaviors or interests typically associated with being a boy, she is sometimes labeled a tomboy.
This might include playing games or taking part in activities that are more physical or considered unfeminine. She may wear a more masculine hairstyle or more male-identified clothing.
Just being a tomboy doesn't make someone transgender or vice versa. A tomboy might talk, play, and act like "one of the guys." But ultimately, her gender identity is still female.
Gay / Lesbian
Whether someone is gay or transgender are completely independent of each other. One refers to someone's sexual orientation, while the other refers to their gender identity.
A transgender person can identify as gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or anywhere else on the spectrum.
If this is your first time hearing about these topics, I get that it may be confusing to wrap your head around. So allow me to elaborate.
For example, let's take a male-to-female transgender person who was born male but identifies as female. If they're sexually attracted to men, they are straight.
This might seem counterintuitive. If they were born male, then if they're attracted to men, they must be gay, right? But that's incorrect since they identify as a woman.
Is It Safe To Hire A Transgender Babysitter?
Yes, a transgender babysitter is just like a babysitter whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.
Transgender babysitters don't have higher rates of violence, sexual abuse, or other things that you need to be concerned about. If anything, transgender people have to worry about being on the receiving end of violence and abuse compared to the rest of the population (source). They are often bullied and teased, and they certainly have to face some humiliation and rejection by people who do not understand.
You also don't need to worry about a transgender babysitter confusing your child about their own gender. They have no interest in brainwashing your child into any kind of transgender agenda. They just want people to accept them for who they are and treat them normally.
Transgender people often face a harder time finding babysitting jobs because of the social stigma attached to their gender identity (source). So they're actually more likely to appreciate being given an opportunity and go above-and-beyond to impress parents and keep the job they have.
No matter who you're hiring as a babysitter, make sure to do your due diligence. See my articles, Babysitter Background Checks (The Complete Guide for Parents) and Babysitter Reference Checking (Ask the RIGHT Questions!), to know who you're dealing with!
Are There Benefits To Hiring A Transgender Babysitter?
Personally, I don't think a transgender babysitter is someone you should specifically seek out, nor specifically avoid. Just like I wouldn't search out a babysitter of a certain race or disqualify someone based on their cultural heritage. Instead, just look for the most qualified babysitter that you can find.
But if you do happen to find that a transgender babysitter is the best fit for your family, it can have its advantages.
Namely, it's a great way to teach your kids. We live in an increasingly complex world when it comes to gender and sexuality. And exposing your kids to members of the LGBTQ+ community may make them more open-minded, well-rounded, and understanding members of society as they grow up (source).
Pertaining collectively to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and to people with gender expressions outside traditional norms, including nonbinary, intersex, and other queer people (and those questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation), along with their allies. (source)
5 Do's And Don'ts When Talking To Your Transgender Babysitter
If you do end up hiring a transgender babysitter, the last thing you want is to upset or offend them in any way. It's easy to accidentally do this, since many parents came from a generation that was not formally taught about these things as they were growing up.
Here are some things to avoid that could cause offense, as well as some that are encouraged.
DON'T Refer To Being Transgender As A Choice
Just like being gay or born of a certain race, being transgender isn't something that is chosen.
Nobody would voluntarily elect to be transgender, knowing all of the abuse and discrimination that goes along with it. In addition to worrying about transitioning, coming out to their family and friends, and all of the other complications, this is not something people seek out.
It's just something that you know—like having a male brain in a female body or vice versa.
Even seemingly innocuous questions like, "when did you decide you were trans?" may unintentionally give off the assumption that being transgender is a choice. But questions in this realm are not something you should ask anyway.
DON'T Ask Overly Personal Questions
You wouldn't ask any other babysitter about their sexual preferences, the specifics of their anatomy, or anything else. So why would you think it would be okay with a transgender babysitter? (Spoiler alert—it isn't!) Especially if your transgender babysitter is underage, these sorts of questions are creepy and illegal and considered harassment in the job setting (source).
DON'T Ask About Their Previous Name
When a transgender person transitions from their gender at birth to their true gender identity, they typically change their name to go along with it.
Their old name is referred to in the trans community as their deadname. Literally, it's like an old part of them that has died. So don't bring it up or ask about it.
Asking about a transgender person's pre-transition life can be triggering and remind them of a time when they were very unhappy with themself (source). So it's also an insensitive thing to bring up.
DO Ask What Pronouns They Prefer
Sometimes when meeting a transgender babysitter, you can't really know what gender they identify as without asking.
It's okay to admit that you don't know! You wouldn't assume what someone's name is without asking either.
It's always better to just ask instead of assuming and risk getting it wrong. Even if your babysitter seems to clearly present in a masculine or feminine way, they may still prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns like they/them (source).
When in doubt, just refer to them by their name.
DO Ask About Confidentiality
Especially for younger transgender babysitters, they may not be "out" to their family or friends yet. So don't discuss it with anyone else without their express permission.
Likewise, if you come across documents with their old name while running background checks, while you may need to confirm that they are correct with the babysitter, don't make comments and certainly don’t share this information with anyone.
Why Transgender Equality In Babysitting Is Important
In an ideal world, transgender babysitters would be treated just the same as everyone else. But the truth is that we aren't quite there yet, and may not be for another decade or more.
These days, the vast majority of people understand that it would be morally reprehensible to reject hiring a babysitter because of their race. But 50 years ago, this practice would have been acceptable and quite common.
Up until even more recently, the same was true of hiring a gay babysitter. Now, most people are accepting, and many would hire a gay babysitter.
Transgender people are among the few groups left who still face significant discrimination and mistreatment—not only as babysitters but also in all areas of their lives (source).
Transgender people are more likely to:
- Deal with bullying or harassment at school
- Be denied or fired from a job
- Get targeted by law enforcement
- Encounter abuse and violence
- Live in poverty or become homeless
- Get denied access to medical care
- Experience isolation from family and friends
- Suffer from depression
- Plus much more
The gender dysphoria that comes along with being transgender can also cause extreme emotional distress from a young age (source). A 2017 Stonewall School Report found that nearly half of transgender people under 26 years old had attempted suicide.
You may never be able to understand what it's like to live in a transgender person's shoes. But the least you can do is give them an honest chance at a safe and fulfilling babysitting job if you happen to come across someone during your search.
How Many People Are Transgender?
In the US, approximately 0.6% of adults identify as transgender.
So if you live in a smaller town, it's certainly possible that you've never seen or interacted with a transgender person before (or you might have been unaware of it if you did).
However, even at such a low percentage, that extrapolates out over the population to more than a million transgender individuals in the United States alone.
What Is A Non-Binary Babysitter?
Aside from transgender babysitters, non-binary sitters are another category of LGBT+ people you might encounter (source).
A non-binary person is anyone who doesn't have a gender identity that is specifically female or male (source).
They might be genderfluid, pangender, bigender, androgynous, or many other categories. They may even be agender, meaning they don't identify with any gender at all!
You don't need to know every category of non-binary person. Just be aware that non-binary babysitters are out there. And it may not always be obvious if someone identifies as non-binary or not.
The safest thing to do is to never assume anyone's gender, even if it seems very obvious to you that someone is a particular gender. If they identify as transgender, it never hurts to ask what their pronouns are (source).
You want a trustworthy babysitter, no matter how they self-identify. Be sure to read my article, How to Find a Reliable Babysitter You Can Trust, to learn how you can find a great sitter.
Transgender babysitters are just people whose gender identity doesn't match with the sex they were assigned at birth.
You can't make any general statements on whether they would be better or worse at babysitting than any other candidate. So just give them an honest interview, and judge them based on their qualifications and experience, like anyone else.
Transgender babysitters are likely to have a harder time finding a job. They are statistically more likely to face discrimination and even abuse or violence. So just being open-minded enough to give them an interview can go a long way.
People often fear that which they don't know or understand. Hopefully, now you know enough about transgender people that you're more open to the idea of hiring one. If you do end up hiring a transgender babysitter, just keep the taboo questions I outlined above in mind. That way, you can avoid making them or yourself feel uncomfortable. Just think of them like anyone else, and give them a fair and equal assessment.
Are male babysitters safe? (Facts & Stats You Should Know)
Can You Sue a Babysitter?
Warning Signs of a Bad Babysitter
(19 Red Flags to Avoid!)
Babysitter Reference Checking
(Ask the RIGHT Questions!)
What to Look For in a Babysitter
(12 Essential Qualities)
Find a Sitter
The Perfect Gift For Your Babysitter
My book, Babysitting Business Secrets, is out now as an inexpensive ebook or full-color paperback. If your babysitter is serious about becoming the best sitter they can be, then this book is perfect for them. I reveal all my tricks and tips for first-time babysitters or experienced sitters who just want to up their game. Get your copy today!
- Matthew Taylor, Kidsit Founder