“I don’t really feel female or male, what can I do?”was an anonymous question given to me at the end of a recent lesson. This class are at the start of their Secondary (high school) education and so are 12 years old. This is how I will approach answering this question:
1. I will start by revisiting the differences between anatomical sex/gender identity/gender expression (how you present to the outside world) and sexual attraction (google GENDERBREAD PERSON for a good visual)
2. I will ask-where do our ideas about gender come from? What messages does society give us with regards to gender? Why is it telling us these things? Why might it be challenging for people who see gender as binary to think about it more as a spectrum?
3. Gender isn’t binary -it’s a wide spectrum of identifying as male/female/neither/a bit of both and THAT’S OK! Other terms that are similar to ‘non-binary’ are gender-queer, gender expansive and gender nonconforming.
4. As you’re all aware, people use a range of pronouns to identify as, some non-binary people use they/them pronouns
5. Take your time with this, as we’ve discussed, society likes to impose a gender on you and so it takes bravery and strength to hold space for yourself and understand that it can take a while to figure things out
6. Talk to trusted friends and adults about your feelings -make sure you feel safe with these people
7. Find others that can support you and/or are possibly going through similar feelings. There are lots of trustworthy websites where you can find information and a community, and books in our school library
8. Whatever your gender identity or expression, you are a whole and complete human being just the way you are, worthy of love and respect 🙌💖