Educate kids on Gender Identity this International Pronouns Day
When it comes to gender, ideas about what it means to be a girl or a boy are everywhere, and these ideas have a big influence on your kid. Learn how to teach your kid that their gender doesn’t limit them. This International Pronouns Day is a great way to educate your kids on gender identity.
Emphasize that they should approach everyone with kindness and not assume a person’s identity or pronouns. Explain that kids and adults have every right to dress, act, and identify in ways that make them feel good and healthy, as long as they are respecting the safety of others.
International Pronouns Day:It matters
Pronouns are some of the smallest words in any language, but their frequent use makes them compelling identity markers — especially for trans and non-binary individuals.
International Pronouns Day aims to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the day.
Talking about gender can seem scary, but you need to realize you are already having similar conversations with your kids. You tell your kids that any person can use a particular color, work in any profession, and wear any clothes that make them feel good. This can also explain when talking about Gender Identity.
If your daughter asks you “are they a boy or a girl?” don’t assume or pretend to know.
Instead, use gender-neutral language, like “they” and “them” pronouns, to let your child know that until a person self-identifies, you can’t be sure. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is primary to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns, particularly, affects transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Sometimes adults claim to struggle with the concept of choosing pronouns - but that’s often more linked to their closed-mindedness as opposed to a true difficulty. You’ll likely find that your kids pick this concept up easily and find it quite straightforward to respect other people’s identities and pronouns. The biggest thing is ‘don’t assume;’ instead allow people to inform you about themselves, and respect what they say, once they do!
By teaching your kids about gender identity, we can practice kindness and mutual respect while celebrating people’s multiple, intersecting identities.
A new way to think about gender identities
When you think about gender identities, think about a universe where Man is one planet, Woman is another, and non-binary is the rest of the universe. Outside of those three planets, there’s a whole universe to explore!
If you’ve got a young person in your life who has expressed that they have a nonbinary identity, how cool is it to get to have a front-row seat while they explore different parts of the universe that might be customary to you?
The difference between sex and gender
It can also be confusing when considering sex and gender for the first time.
Sex is assigned based on your chromosomes and your genitals.
If you have X & Y chromosomes and a penis, you're a male.
If you have X & X chromosomes and a vulva, you're a female.
It’s important to explain that there are people who don’t fit into these neat columns. While it’s rare, some people are born with more chromosomes, they have XX and XY, or they are born with male chromosomes but not male genitals. These people fall under the term intersex.
Intersex means they cannot be defined as one sex because there’s something in their bodies that differs from the rule of male and female. Explain to your child this doesn’t mean they are wrong or abnormal, this just means they don’t fit into the two-category rule doctors have used (a rule that excludes intersex people.)
Gender is how you feel about your identity (masculine, feminine, or other). You can feel like one of these, both, or none at all.
Let your kids know that each person gets to decide what gender they identify with. To explain gender and pronouns better, try writing down gendered and neutral words for your child to identify. Your child might understand that the "girl" words describe her identity best, and this will help you show her that neutral words are the words her new friend identifies with best. It will give your child a more concrete way to understand gender identity.
How to Support International Pronouns Day
Too many people don’t understand the difference and importance of sex, gender, and pronouns. Make sure your kids learn to have empathy towards all people, and in return to be proud of themselves, however, they might identify.
It’s important to teach your kids these things so if they ever struggle with their gender identity, they can come to you because you shared this information with them.
If you still need more information and resources to help you with this talk, My Little Yoni has something for you!
Read our book, Yoni Magic: Breaking the Binary, reading this book with your kids will help solidify these concepts in a fun, shame-free way!
Supporting International Pronouns Day is a wonderful way to promote inclusivity and respect for people's gender identities.