resources, books, representation, sexual education, heteronormativity, teacher education, teachers
Dawn: My older child often comments on the fact that there’s not a lot of children’s books written about single-parent families, and she doesn’t see herself reflected in a lot of children’s books, have a very ideal heteronormative family. And they don’t even necessarily represent single-parent families, let alone queer families. Like there are, like my kids, to them it’s no big deal. Like if I wanted to get married to another woman, they’re just like “Okay, cool. We like women anyways.” So to a lot of kids, I think it’s not really a big deal anymore. But I don’t think that there’s a ton of books. Like I think maybe we have four or five books about trans girls. But they’re very much the kind of books that’s intended as a teaching tool, and those were helpful for that first year, when it was like “Okay, you’re normal, you’re not the only one.” But there’s not a lot of books that it’s just a regular book and then the family is queer or the family is trans or whatever. So I think that’s maybe a gap.
And also a really big gap in terms of sex-ed, for gender nonconforming folks, because before I knew that she identified this way, we had just the regular book about puberty and stuff that I had shown to my older daughter, and it was for four to seven year olds. And I would show it to my younger daughter, before I knew. And she would be really upset and would throw the book under the bed, and I didn’t really know why. And I was worrying about all kinds of things, and then I clued in when she started identifying as a girl, I was like “Oh those books are really not safe, I’m such a bad parent, I’ve been totally traumatizing my child.” So we found another book, there’s a book called Sex is a Funny Word, but even now I have a hard time getting the conversation started, because I think she was so traumatized by all these “the boys grow up to be men.” So there needs to be like, like I think just having my experience, like I talked to them one time and I’m like you know, you have the sperm and the egg and they join together to make a baby. And my younger child was like “So I have little tiny eggs inside of me, mommy?” And I was like oh dear, this is going to be complicated.
So I think there needs to be, that needs to be considered in sex ed in schools. Because you’re actually going to traumatize gender nonconforming people by teaching them about puberty and stuff in a way that doesn’t include them, like just based on my own experience with a very small child that’s not even at that stage yet. So I think that’s something that teachers should be aware of too, like the way that you teach physical education and about puberty and stuff. Maybe that’s better to come from an expert, rather than just a teacher that has no idea. Like I can just imagine how many kids sat in that class and were just completely freaked out, and didn’t feel like they were being represented. So I think that’s important.