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Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth

Schools, Families, and Communities in Action

Series:

Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon

Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth brings together cuttingedge research, social action methods, and theory on the topic of transgender youth and gender creative children. Organized in three sections covering theoretical and clinical, educational, and community perspectives, the chapters specifically address issues and challenges in education, social work, medicine, and counseling as well as recommendations that are relevant for parents, families, practitioners, and educators alike. The result is a well-researched and accessible book that will provide support and knowledge to a broad audience of individuals invested in improving the social worlds of gender diverse children and youth.
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Chapter Six: “I Will Whip My Hair” and “Hold My Bow”: Gender-Creativity in Rural Ontario

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Extract

I have wanted our lives taken seriously and represented fully—with power and honesty and sympathy—to be hated or loved, or to terrify and obsess, but to be real, to have the power of the whole and complex.

(Allison, 1994, p. 165)

In every place of research, context is crucial to understanding. Geography influences social relationships and learning. As queer geographer Larry Knopp (2004) articulates, “Space is not just a backdrop for history, and place is not just space with meaning inscribed onto it. Rather, they are both forces in shaping human (and indeed non-human) lives and events” (p. 128). Geography shapes the way gender is expressed. It is a significant part of an intersectional identity. Geographic contexts respond to gender-creativity in specific ways, and perhaps the most common belief is that such transgressions are more acceptable in urban regions, while “the imagining of rural spaces as inhospitable is commonplace” (Gray, 2007, p. 50). Like Gray, who researched queer youth identity in “small town USA,” I wish to challenge this easy duality of urban as good for queers, and rural as bad for queers. I do so both because rural spaces deserve more credit, possessing a complexity and vitality too often flattened by stereotypes, and also because the recognition of these nuances will help you in supporting rural gender-creative youth.

← 85 | 86 →In this chapter I wish to offer some of the voices and insights of gender-creative students in rural Ontario, gathered from...

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