« Soccer player Robbie Rogers makes Los Angeles Galaxy debut as openly gay athlete (with video) | Main | Will Supreme Court justices take note of new gay marriage laws in three states, three countries? »

'Boy or Girl?' Gender a new challenge for schools

BY MARTHA IRVINE, AP NATIONAL WRITER

Garofalo Center brochure 5-27-11CHICAGO -- From the time they are born, we put our boys in blue beanies and our girls in pink ones. It's a societal norm, an expectation even, that you just are what you are born - a boy or a girl.

From early on, we divide toys and activities by very distinct gender lines, with superheroes and trucks and muck on one side and princesses and dolls and all things frilly on the other.

Many children land, enthusiastically, on the expected side. Others dabble in both "girl" and "boy" things. But what if your kid, even from an early age, mostly showed interest in doing opposite-gender things? More importantly, what if they wanted to BE the opposite gender - or a less-defined mix of both? And what if they wanted to test those limits in public places, like school?

Would you let them?

It's not, of course, that pat of a process. Parents don't just decide to let their kids switch genders. But, whether parents are dragged through the process, or if they decide to work it through more openly, more kids are challenging the boundaries of traditional gender, and going public at younger ages.

And they are doing so with the guidance of a growing faction of medical experts who no longer see this as something to be fixed. Last year, the American Psychiatric Association removed "gender identity disorder" from its list of mental health ailments.

Some experts predict that views on gender will evolve in much the same way they have for sexual orientation, since homosexuality was removed as a mental illness nearly four decades ago. Today, the gender spectrum includes those who are transgender, who see themselves as the opposite gender, and those who are gender variant, or gender nonconforming, whose gender is more "fluid." For kids, it means they identify part of themselves as boy and part as girl.

Click here to read more.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.