Schools, Families, and Communities in Action, Revised Edition
Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon
Chapter Four: Transformative Gender Justice as a Framework for Normalizing Gender Variance among Children and Youth
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Whenever we are crossing the Canadian-U.S. border, my instructions to my daughter—and her response—are always the same: “I will be calling you ‘he.’” She: “Why?” We have had many discussions about this and none of them have been satisfactory for either of us. But before we leave home each time, I insist that she refrain from wearing a skirt or a dress until we are across the border (if we are driving, it is not unusual for us to pull into the nearest shopping mall parking lot to enable her to “change back” into herself). I tell her I don’t like it either but not everybody understands that we are who we say we are. Most of the time she and I are in solidarity in the face of the failure of others to understand who she is—or who I am, for that matter—or to realize that the categories they impose upon her are contrived and oppressive, but the erasure of her identity is real and it hurts every time. The last time we flew to the United States, I watched as she came through the sensor gate behind me. I did not even notice that one of her fists was clenched until the guard who was waiting to wand her asked her to open her hand. When she did, she revealed a delicate, iridescent pink hair scrunchy. She was trying to find a way to hang onto herself in the face of...
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