If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: http://fyseq.tumblr.com/ask, though check out http://fuckyeahsexeducation.tumblr.com/FAQ!
you’re addressing the class as though they are either boys or girls… /: nb people exist, even as kids
I totally agree. I can’t find any curricula addressing non binary children. I’m trying to figure out how to educate about non binary identities and other aspects of gender. If anyone has any ideas or resources please send them to me!
Ugh one of the OWL activities is a “gender change exercise” where you imagine being a different gender.
How can I do this in a way that’s not totally offensive to trans and intersex people?
I don’t know how much leeway I’m given and how much I can go into transgender identities but one thing I can think of is to make different cards, “cisgender man” “cisgender woman” “trans man” “trans woman” “genderqueer” “agender” etc. and everyone has to draw one they are not and talk about how their experiences may differ. IDK that’s the only thing I can think of. Keep in mind this is for children age 9-12
You know what’d be a fun activity for younger kids on gender roles, stereotypes, and identity? Have a bunch of felt things like sports, dolls, the color blue or pink, or other things that our society genders and put it in felt boxes. Then have a third box where you put in bits and pieces from both boxes. You focus on the fact that things and actions don’t have gender. Then you can talk about “what makes a boy” and “what makes a girl” and bounce off of that to talk about trans people and intersex people. To continue with that we could have them create people with different genitals/bodies and have them dress them certain ways and give them a box with certain things and then give them a label and show that any body with any clothing and any box can have any gender.
OOH and I can add gender things from different cultures to be inclusive and show cultural differences like the hijab.
I like visual aids
and making things out of felt. I always thought it was magic as a kid when the teacher would create things with felt on a felt background and they would stick… I was an easily amused child.
What do y’all think?
If you could tell your teenage self or other teenagers something important about gender or gender roles what would you say?
Gender Expression, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
Q: How do I know what my gender or orientation is?
A: I get a lot of “how do I know if I’m (insert gender or orientation here)” questions. What it comes down to is a lot of people have difficulty knowing for sure. We always hear these stories of, “Oh well I knew since I was 7 and I never doubted myself ever.” which it’s great if you have such certainty but both orientations and genders are fluid. They change and that’s okay. We get so set in people telling us “oh it’s just a phase.” “You don’t really know who you are.” that we feel the need to prove ourselves. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. Labels don’t matter if they make you miserable or confused. The purpose of labels is to let you know you’re not alone and there are people out there like you and to be able to find those people and have a safe community. If you feel a certain way explore it. Present yourself the way you’re comfortable, love who you’re going to love, have sex with who you want to, and forget all of the little messages society tells you. How you feel is all that matters. If you find a label that makes you feel safe and happy explore that community. If you want to tell someone about yourself chances are they’re not going to understand a one word answer so you might have to explain anyway. It’s great to learn about different genders and orientations and explore those communities because you learn from it and you learn more about yourself and you might find something special there. No one fully knows themselves, that’s what life is about. A journey to find out who you are. You don’t have to learn everything at once.
Q: What is the difference between transsexual and transgender?
A: Transsexual usually refers to anyone who plans to or is going through hormone replacement therapy or sex realignment surgery. Transgender people don’t have to be transitioning. However, the word “Transsexual” is kind of going out of favour so more and more people are using transgender.
Q: What’s the safe way to bind your chest?
A: The safest way is to get a really good sports bra that is the right size to be comfortable but still make your breasts appear smaller. You can get two really good sports bras and put the top one on backwards but this can get uncomfortable (for me at least). Also, layering is your best friend. You can wear a good sports bra, tight tank top, and t-shirt and maybe even put a vest, over shirt, sweater, or jacket over it. You could try a looser binder, but that’s kind of difficult to do since most binders have to be ordered online and you can’t really try those online. You could get a larger binder and if you’re any good at sewing try to alter it to be the right size. This can be tricky though depending on the type of binder. If you’re not worried about being uncomfortable or if you plan on having surgery you can find a good binder that fits perfectly, although finding the right size can be tricky. If you’re planning on having surgery is really the only time it’s a good idea to bind every day and you should never bind with ace bandages or tape.
Q: What does the * after Trans mean?
A: Basically this makes it more inclusive. Trans* can be anyone who is not cis gender, anyone whose gender identity doesn’t match up with their designated sex. This includes non binary identities. Trans without the asterisk just refers the trans men and women.
Done editing the Gender and Orientations section of my FAQ. Are there any other frequently asked questions that need to be put in this category? Do you have any questions about gender or orientation that aren’t answered here?
In honor of Coming Out day, feel free to tell your coming out or being outed stories over at my other blog FuckYeahPersonalStories.
To get the ball rolling here are my stories.
Coming out to my sister was pretty much her asking, “You like girls don’t you?” and me replying “NO GOD NO…maybe… okay yes.” and then an ongoing conversation of the evolution of my sexuality. Also, both of us talking about gender and how we viewed our gender although I haven’t brought up any exact labels or gender identities yet on the gender front. I brought up my polyamory when she brought up her questioning if she was polyamorous.
Coming out to my friends was basically me subtly slipping into our conversation that I thought some girl was hot, although some friends would introduce me as a lesbian or almost lesbian or something really not cool like that or would out me to others. As far as gender identity goes I came out online through facebook and tumblr mostly. Some people ignore it, others don’t respect my chosen pronouns, and other people do. I’ve also mentioned being polyamorous before although most people ignore it because they don’t know what to say.
My sister accidentally outed me to my mother. My mother asked why I was going to school early and my sister said “probably to see her girlfriend” and then the shit hit the fan. My family does not keep secrets at all. My mom called my dad because she thought that all gay people had been sexually abused and she thought my father was the best candidate for that (I then had to explain that wasn’t true). My dad, mother, and sister then went on to talk to the rest of my family about my orientation which was mostly met either with ignoring it or being confused and asking if I was a lesbian or continued asking if I was still a lesbian. I haven’t talked about my gender identity with my family and the only thing hinting at polyamory was that I didn’t believe monogamy worked for me and I didn’t want to get married, which I’ve only really talked about with my parents. But of course they don’t believe me.
Being queer or outside of the “norm” is a mixed bag of people being awesome and people being crap. It’s different for every person you come out to and it’s different for every person coming out.
Sex 101: Gender Identity
Welcome to the second post in our Sex 101 series, where we try & cover all the basics of sex & relationships! This post is going to be on the topic of gender identity, including trans* identities, intersexuality & how to be a good ally. If you’d like to see other posts in the series, including our first post on the subject of consent, you can find them here.
If you’d like to suggest a topic for us to cover in Sex 101, or if you’d like to ask us a question about anything relating to sex or relationships then our ask box is always open.
This post has a trigger warning on it for discussion of issues surrounding gender identity including but not limited to transgenderism & intersexuality.
If you are questioning your gender identity & feel in need of support there are plenty of great organisations across the UK who can help, & you can find a list of them here.
Here are the questions:
What is gender identity?
Gender identity is the 100% personal & subjective experience that someone has of their own gender.
So, it’s whether someone feels male or female?
Not really. Although some people may identify as male or female, man or woman, there are plenty of other gender identities out there, some of which are on the male-female spectrum, & some of which aren’t. All of these are 100% valid, & the gender binary is a really out-dated way of looking at gender, which can be really harmful towards people who identify as trans* as it basically erases them & their identities.
So it’s not the same as sex? Or orientation?
The word ‘sex’ is generally used to describe a variety of biological differences between males & females, such as genitalia, chromosomes, & hormone levels. However, just as with gender, it’s important to realise that sex is not a binary. The number of people who are intersex is very high, & intersexuality covers a wide range of conditions, for example atypical genitalia or hormone levels, or unusual chromosome combinations. Sex has nothing to do with gender. Someone can have a “vagina”, XX chromosomes, & high estrogen levels, & still be a man, & the same goes for women with “penises”, XY chromosomes, & high levels of testosterone.
Orientation refers to who someone is romantically & sexually attracted to. Again, this has nothing to do with gender, except in the sense that someone’s gender identity may influence what term they use to describe their orientation. For example, someone who identifies as female & who is attracted to other women might choose to describe their sexual orientation as homosexual, whereas if they were to identify as male, they could identify as heterosexual. Basically, people of all genders can be attracted to people of all genders.
What does cisgender mean?
Cisgender is usually used to describe someone who identifies with the sex & or gender that they were assigned at birth. So, if someone was assigned female at birth & currently identifies as female or a woman, they could be described as being cisgender.
What about transgender?
Transgender refers to someone who does not identify with the sex & or gender they were assigned at birth. However, it is generally used to describe someone who does identify with one of the two gender in the gender binary.
Is that the same as trans*?
Trans* is a more inclusive umbrella term, which can be used by people who identify as transgender, but also anyone who is gender variant or does not identify with the gender binary. This covers a wide range of gender identities, including but not limited to transsexual, genderqueer, non-binary, genderfluid, genderfuck, intersex, third gender, transvestite, cross-dressing, bi-gender, & agender.
A lot of these gender identities may be new to people, & there are some terms which are used a lot in discussions about gender which people might not be sure about, so we’ve compiled a glossary of terms relating to gender identity which you can find here. We’ll be adding this to our glossary page, & if you have any suggestions for additions, feel free to message us. It’s important to remember that gender identity is an incredibly personal & fluid thing & while someone may identify using one or several of the terms below their experience may differ from the description given & that’s fine. These are only intended as guidelines.
What about the word tranny/she-male/hermaphrodite/he-she etc.?
All of these words have, in the past, been used in a derogatory way & have hurt many people. Because of this, you must be very careful how you use them. In some cases, these words have been reclaimed & that’s great but remember: you can only use them if you are part of the group which has been oppressed by the word, & while it’s ok to use them to describe yourself you should never apply them to anyone else, as they can still be hurtful.
How do I tell what gender someone is?
It’s not really any of your business how someone identifies - you don’t need to know & asking can be extremely insulting. If someone wants you to know what gender they identify as, they will let you know. Not prying is part of being a good ally.
A question that you may need to ask someone is about which pronouns they prefer, although remember that pronouns don’t always indicate gender.
The best way to find out what pronouns someone prefers is simply to wait until they refer to themselves, & in the mean time just refer to them using neutral pronouns i.e. they & their.
If you are in a position where you need to know which pronouns someone prefers, first understand that it’s a very personal & sensitive issue, especially if they are attempting to present as one of the binary genders (this could suggest to them that they are not passing as the gender they wish to present as). They may also not be comfortable talking about their gender identity, either with you or in front of people, particularly if they are in a situation where doing so could put them in danger.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to opening up a dialogue with someone about their preferred pronouns:
- Take them aside or wait until the two of you are out of ear shot of others.
- Make it clear that they don’t have to answer if they are not comfortable doing so.
- Politely ask “What are your preferred pronouns?”. This question has nothing to do with their sex, or even really their gender, so do not phrase the question in a way which makes it about those things.
- Respect their answer (use their preferred pronoun at all times & if you make a mistake, apologise immediately), thank them, & move on.
My friend or partner has just come out as trans*, what can I do to support them? How can I be a good trans* ally?
The short answer is: pretty much the same way you go about being a good friend or partner to anyone.
The longer answer is:
- Be supportive - this means respecting them & the choices they make. Make sure they know you’re there for them & listen to what they have to say. Coming out as trans* & transitioning can be a tough time for a lot of people so they may be looking for someone they can depend on & talk through their problems with.
- Part of being a good trans* ally is about educating yourself. There are tons of great resources online regarding trans* identities, & taking the time to educate yourself can take a lot of pressure off trans* people, especially if you’re close to them. Coming out can be tough enough without feeling like you have to explain yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them but be sensitive & respect them if they don’t want to answer.
- Take note of their preferred pronouns - for advice on how to ask, see above. You should also check when you should use these pronouns. Especially if the trans* person is your partner or close friend, it’s possible they have come out to you & not to others, so by checking when to use which pronouns you can avoid outing them. Outing someone is a terrible thing to do & can put people in danger. Never do it. Personal information given to you in confidence is not to be shared, & if you’re not sure whether someone knows or not, don’t share with them until you’ve had confirmation.
- It’s understandable if you want to ask questions about the future, for example whether they plan on transitioning & if so how, but again, understand these are personal questions & ones they themselves may not know the answer to, so don’t pressure them.
- More broadly, part of being a good trans* ally is challenging your own assumptions of gender, & working to break down the gender binary. You can do this by not assuming people’s gender, using gender neutral pronouns unless you know someone’s preferred ones, avoiding making links between gender & sexual orientation, & not defining things like clothing & hairstyles as masculine or feminine.
So, remember, gender identity is 100% subjective, 100% personal & 100% none of your business. As with all things in life, be respectful, educate & challenge yourself & others, & be supportive.
If you have anything to add or any changes to suggest we’d love to hear them & you can send them here. Our glossary of gender terms is here & we’ll be adding them to our main glossary as soon as possible.
Boylan, Jennifer Finney (2007-12-18). She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders (p. 247). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Oh this passage was sobering, at least for me. Especially since I like high heels and sponge cake quite a bit. -C