The ABC’s of Gender Diversity… written by Tracy Bryan
The ABC's of Gender Diversity
Lately there has been quite a bit of news and social media focused on gender diversity issues. I believe it’s because a lot of people in our society are changing the way that they look at this topic. Society is generally becoming more aware and accepting, at least in the larger cities, about issues that affect the LGBTQIA+ community. More specifically, with regards to gender roles…IT’S ABOUT TIME!
I say this with sassiness, because I have personally, in my 46 years of life, watched people in our society go from total shame talking about anything regarding this topic, to opening their minds and discussing that gender diversity actually exists. People are beginning to understand that the concept of only two binary gender labels (female and male) is a stereotypical view of gender in modern society, and that these identifications don’t necessarily apply to everyone. This progressive outlook is becoming more common with most people. We have come along way, but don’t stop yet-we still have mountains to move!
As a children’s author, I have written several books on or related to this topic and I admit, it is of great interest to me. I am an Ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, have many friends that are part of this family and I try to support their causes as frequently and as much as I can. I like to keep up to date on most social issues, especially ones that affect children. Currently, I continue to see far too many news items that pertain to hate and intolerance of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Like most writers, I am prompted to do research when I want to understand the specifics of a topic. The topic being- current trends in gender diversity and how our society perceives these changes. Well, I can admit that this is a challenging subject to physically ‘Google’. While researching, I was automatically confronted with articles about gender diversity, but they were heavily laden with politics and religion. These are two themes I try to avoid. I attempted to narrow my search down to gender diversity and children. Then I saw it…the perfect article! It was from Huffington Post, written by Brynn Tannehill, called: ‘Dispelling Myths, Misconceptions and Lies About Gender Nonconforming Children’. (Before you read on, I highly recommend you go and read this first. It’s not necessary in order to follow along here, but definitely worth the read!)
In essence, if a child is already born with their gender identity as well as their sex, and they can express it as young as two years old, it’s important to better understand these children by listening to their feelings about their gender, regardless if these may go against societal norms or not. Who wants to grow up with restrictions on what they should and shouldn’t look like, feel like, act like or be?
So… is society generally becoming more aware and accepting of nonconforming gender roles?
If so, is this because my parent’s generation and the generation before that simply ignored the conflicted feelings that children and adults may have been trying to express years ago?
Or, is it just that current society has gained an ability to be more understanding of change primarily because of all the scientific research that has been done about gender?
Finally, are people more compassionate and aware of others solely because people and their families are becoming more diverse? Is this in turn causing society to naturally respect the need to make changes in order to nurture itself?
It’s important to understand what our current social norms are and how we arrived here. The most important question we need to ask ourselves at this point, however, is...
what are we going to do as a society to change our attitudes even more, now that we are here?
How many more gender nonconforming children and adults do we need to hear about, that have been isolated, bullied or even killed when expressing themselves as WHO they rightfully and naturally are. The hate and intolerance has got to stop!
The mountain that needs moving seems so heavy, but there are many good people in our society who are strong and will help those that can’t. I like to think that most people will naturally grab the hand of their fellow human if they are struggling or having difficulty fitting in. I think that society will continue to gain awareness about it’s people - all of them eventually.
And…at least we can hope that most people will stop to take notice of WHY we are moving the mountain in the first place! We are all in this together…you, me, he, she, they/them, ne, ve, ze/zie and xe!
Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, self-esteem, mindfulness and mental health. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone. Please visit Tracy's website tracybryan.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Special Thank You to Jonah Eric Mosher for being an invaluable resource and inspiration for this article!
To My Daughter: You are one of my main sources of inspiration behind all my work! Without your continual love, validation, and infinite wisdom of Sexual Diversity Studies, my passion would not be as meaningful!