Recently, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the announcement of a product launch for LEGO for a line of toys targeted specifically at girls called LEGO Friends. Traditionally, LEGO has made few steps into gender-based marketing and when it has, those products have been short-lived. I wanted to look more thoroughly over the products and see how they line up with the current binary displayed in children’s toys.
Over the past week, I have come across a few blog posts from people who have either noticed positive interactions for gender non-conforming children or who have helped to break down the gender binary for children in the classroom to prevent bullying. Children learn so early on how gender affects the world, how it creates a line to follow in every interaction, in every choice. Society dictates from the moment of birth how children should be dressed, what they should play with, how they should react and think, all based on its sex at birth, and children learn within those boundaries. The only way to allow children to escape the binary is to walk ourselves outside the constraints society sets or to educate them about gender outside of the rules reinforced in their everyday lives.
For the last post of 2011, I went back through every Exploring Gender of the past year, trying to find the most important and impactful. In looking through them, I found a trend. As the year progressed, my posts became less personal and more geared toward events and their impact on the community at large. Anecdotes will always be a part of these articles, but if you wish to hear more personal stories, please tell me in the comments or message me on the site. I am always willing to answer any questions, tell my stories, or hear suggestions for future articles.
Grinnell's College, Iowa decided to propose dormitory room, bathroom, shower room or locker room without gender becoming the first of the state.
How many sexes or genders are there anyway, and how are they defined? I suspect there are at least 4 and possibly 8. It seems like we not living in a black and white dualistic world any more that is limited to just males & females. There are many shades of grey that make the world seem much more complicated.
While researching today, I found a campaign working toward creating an equal environment for all genders at colleges and universities, The National Student Genderblind Campaign (NSGC). According to their mission statement, they question the way society has dictated that women should room with women and men with men. Why can’t students live with whomever they are at ease?
I had a job interview today, the first one in about a year. And though I now go by Cael on a day to day basis, I have still not changed my name legally, so I still must legally apply as Mary. In the course of past interviews, it has always been difficult to try to figure out how to dress as my life has progressed. At first, it was easy—though uncomfortable—to put on some tight pin stripe pants and a spaghetti-string tank top under an equally tight button up shirt. Then as I grew more comfortable with myself, I would trade the tight pants for some men’s slacks instead. Little by little, my style changed to reflect my male identity, and I no longer own any women’s clothes.
Can you imagine a gender-neutral environment? Society dictates so completely our conception of gender that it is difficult to think of a place where one pronoun fits all or a child can choose to play with a toy without being placed into the stereotype associated with that toy. It is nearly impossible, and yet, a preschool in Sweden is trying to create such an environment.
When diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) at a young age, parents are tasked with deciding the best way to help their child. The response of parents varies. Some parents refuse to accept their child, pushing certain beliefs and constraints on them to fall within the line of society. Some allow their child to go through counseling in hopes that it will help, and still others pursue hormonal treatments to help their child transition. There are as many approaches to this dilemma as there are parents facing it.
Recently I was asked about how I approach sexual orientation while transitioning. It is a hard thing to think about because so much else is changing in my life. Specifically, I was asked: “So do you date lesbians, straight girls, bi girls, or what?” My original response was: “I just like women.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pronouns and my name change. I understand it is hard at first to change those things in your mind when I’ve spent my whole life being one person, and all of the sudden, I’m another. It’s confusing, and no matter how supportive you are, there will be slip-ups. How do people approach this change though?