n. the pervasive and systemic belief in male/masculine and female/feminine as the only true, natural and correct gender identities and expressions

gender normativity n. the privileged state lived - whether momentarily or perpetually - by those whose genders perceptibly 'fit' with locally-derived and understood expressions of masculinity (for men) and femininity (for women)

gender non-normativity n. the oppressed state lived - whether momentarily or perpetually - by those whose genders do not perceptibly fit, as above

Monday, April 13, 2009

Genderqueers in childcare: Spoken word by Andrea Gibson

As a genderqueer, working with kids involves being asked the same question a weekly basis (at least): "are you a boy or a girl?" I never respond to this bifuracted prompt, instead prefering to hold the question (c.f. Atkinson and DePalma). I say "I haven't decided yet today - it's not even lunchtime!" or "Would you think I was more or less cool if you knew?" or "Neither of those words really fits everything that I am so I don't think it's fair that I have to choose."

It is vital and important that we preserve the possibility for these kids to think about other options or to know that, like me, they also do not have to be bound up in everything that a proper "girl" or a "boy" is supposed to do or be. Like Andrea Gibson conveys, the kids don't care beyond initial curiosity. All they really want is a conversational segueway into asking for (another) push on the swings.

Andrea Gibson in Swingset seems to share my feelings and reactions on this score, but she has the gift of the gab and I do not. Check her out.

PS - Thanks to Karleen Pendleton Jimenez for sending me the link.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Liz!

    I'm Mae Callen and I'm a blogger. I've added your blog to Queer Canada Blogs - it's an active blog roll that lists Queer blogs from Canada and/or Canadians. I mange this site along with feral geographer.

    Please check it out and let us know if you have any suggestions of blogs we can add.

    Mae Callen