On Oct. 2, LeadScape posted “Embracing the Whole Child: From Gender Binary to Gender Continuum” by contributor Dr. Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Associate Professor of Education. The article focuses on building support and alliances for children who are gender nonconforming or transgender.
For more than two decades, I have been building partnerships with families and schools creating successful inclusion environments for students with a variety of disabilities and diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the past eight years, I have expanded the circle of inclusion to create welcoming schools for students who are gender nonconforming or transgender.
This area of inquiry and service felt like a natural extension of my work, and grew out of my experiences parenting my children. When my now 11 year-old son was three, he displayed a strong interest in toys, clothes, and activities typically associated with girls. He used a “blankie” pretending to have long hair and enjoyed playing with the many princess costumes his sister had, though rarely played with. His sister was interested in building things and playing sports, and not so much in princess dress-up and Barbie dolls. She was what we call a “tomboy.” I was a tomboy as a child, and so were my mother and my mother-in-law. My daughter’s interests and behaviors felt very familiar, comfortable, and natural to all of us.