Daily Archives: April 8, 2012
Posted by Tobi-Dawne
The very first time I’d heard the term “Gender Creative” I was in a board meeting for Breaking the Silence (which was held in March). Fran Forsberg, an amazing woman and dedicated volunteer, had used it to describe two of her children, and it clicked with me instantly. Gender Creative – could there be a more perfect or beautiful way to describe a child who is, well… creative when it comes to gender? I absolutely love the term, and hope it catches on like wildfire. Having such a beautiful way to describe children who don’t necessarily fit into their assigned gender.
Children are too young to know how their sexual identities and desires will eventually shape them, but they often know right from the get go if their assigned gender fits or not. Some children easily play in one or both binary gender roles. Others feel at home solidly in one camp or the other (and it may or may not match their assigned gender). Describing these children as Gender Creative allows them the freedom to experiment and play with their identities – as we should allow all children.
We should actively encourage our children to try on different roles, to play different parts. We do this with little boys by encouraging them to pretend to be firemen, policemen, doctors, and race car drivers. With little girls we encourage them to dress up as princesses, home makers, nurses, and ballerinas. When we should be encouraging all our children to try on these different roles – regardless of their assigned gender or assigned sex. I know I am equally thrilled when Lily-Ann dresses up as a cowboy, or tells me how she wants to grow up to play for the Blue Jays as when she wears a tutu and wings to school, announcing that she has decided to be Tinkerbell. We play cars and My Little Ponies.
The point is that children SHOULD be Gender Creative. It shouldn’t be the odd kid out who plays with gender, and finds it fluid and easily adaptable. All children should have the freedom to find themselves without society forcing binary roles onto them. It actually makes me sick to my stomach when I hear a parent tell a child “No, you can’t have that, it’s a girl toy” or “I’m not buying that for you, girls don’t play with action figures.” It’s when the I’m-gonna-fix-the-world me comes out, and I can’t help but do a little educating – and I’m not always as polite as I should be. Oh, I try to be… but there are times when the beastly me comes out, and it’s pretty much always when I see a little kid just being their genuine self, and having that self squashed by a parent who so clearly doesn’t get it.
So, until we get to the point where society is able to allow ALL children to just be children – without forcing gender binaries on them. Until then? I like the term Gender Creative. What a beautiful way to express how all kids should be free to be.