June 2022

What is Gender

by Mikayla SHults

This month, I asked transgender, nonbinary, and cisgender kids what gender means to them. In the past few years, it has become easier for kids to express their gender in the ways that they want freely. To many adults, being trans seems like a trend that children will not be consistent with. In the cases where kids seem to be flip-flopping between being nonbinary and transgender, what is really happening is a kid figuring out how they want to express themself and what feels right. When adults are not well informed, whether that be basic knowledge of the LQBTQ community or how to support their trans children properly, it can be very confusing when their child comes out to them. Even when a parent is understanding, finding out that the person you have raised in a certain way wants to express themselves differently can be hard to grasp. Making mistakes along this journey is completely normal, and everyone appreciates an adult who is willing to learn how to be more accepting of transgender youth. That is why I asked both trans and cis people what gender means to them personally and how they think adults could be more open to trans kids.

Gender is a way you express or define yourself. Adults can listen and try to understand instead of shutting them down.

Lucille | Age 16

Gender is a spectrum that's based on self-expression, not sex. Someone's gender expression can be related to their sex, but it's still their personal interpretation of what it means to be that gender.

Audrey | Age 17

To me, gender is what you identify as. It doesn't matter what you were born as or what you like to wear; if you say that you identify as something, that's what you are. A man wearing a dress doesn't make him any less of a man. Adults can be more accepting by simply listening. Use the name and pronouns that someone tells you to use and be willing to learn when they try to teach you something.

Jamie | Age 17

Being trans is a big part of my identity. I find myself discussing gender pretty often. It's remarkable how much I have to debate my own existence. Adults need to listen to trans youth more instead of talking over them. No one knows more about trans people than trans people, so the best thing is just to let us have a voice. Also, the insensitive "he, they, it, whatever" jokes need to stop for the love of God.

Asher | Age 17

I think gender is a form of expression between femininity and masculinity. Sometimes, people like to identify with one side more than the other or not even identify with it at all. I feel like acceptance comes from accepting yourself first and finding your own definition of gender. For example, I identify as female, but I understand that gender is just one of those funny human things we created.

Claire | Age 17

To me gender is a part of identity, largely influenced by social characteristics that our changing culture has created. I think adults can try and modernize their way of thinking when it comes to gender in order to be more accepting of the youth.

Caleb | Age 16

Gender is how you feel in your head. It doesn't always line up with your sex. Men and women are the most common but it's a spectrum. It's how you feel comfortable identifying/presenting. Listen when we tell you something makes us uncomfortable. Do not ask for someone's dead name. You can probably ask a question, but if you wouldn't ask a cis person the same thing, google it. The internet is full of information.

Sage | Age 17

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