Insights Into Teens: Episode 34 “Gender Identity”

In a very special extended edition podcast we explore the complex and evolving concept of gender identity. Our panel of qualified experts help us define what gender identity is, the struggles the non-binary community has faced and the steps enlightened individuals and groups are taking to move society’s understanding of gender identity forward.

We cover a broad spectrum of information, uncover valuable insights into the lives of non-binary members of society and gain a deep appreciation for the discrimination that society places on a topic it largely does not understand. We will learn how  we can make a difference in increasing the awareness and acceptance of unfamiliar gender identities and we’ll learn how education, communication and the ability to thrive in a safe space can help us improve the lives of so many people.

Join us as we welcome two subject matter experts to educate and help us navigate our way through concepts, terminology associated with gender identity. It is an enlightening and educational episode that’s sure to deeply touch most of our audience.

Insights Into Teens


Speaker 1: 00:00:01 This week’s topic is gender identity. This is a continually evolving concept in today’s society. As a result, it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. Today’s discussion will attempt to address many of these misconceptions during the course of this discussion. Other sensitive topics such as sexuality, reproduction, and sexual preference will be mentioned or discussed. Some parents may find these topics inappropriate for their children at this time. We encourage parents to view the content of this week’s podcast themselves, either before your child does or with your child. It is our hope to further the discussion of these important topics in order to better educate our audience and promote a safe and communicative environment to support everyone. Thank you and please enjoy the podcast.

Speaker 2: 00:00:57 Insightful podcast by informative hopes sites, a podcast network

Speaker 3: 00:01:22 .

Speaker 4: 00:01:22 Welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison. Whale is a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 3: 00:01:46

Speaker 1: 00:01:46 Welcome to insights in the teens. This is episode 34 gender identity. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon, and my insightful and intelligent cohost, Madison Waylon. Hi, how are you doing today, Maddie? Pretty good. So for this week’s podcast, we we’re kind of uninitiated to the topic at hand here and decided it was best to probably bring in a couple of subject matter experts. Why don’t you introduce our experts for,

Speaker 5: 00:02:21 Okay, so on my right we have tesserae and Chris Exposito. Hi. Hello.

Speaker 1: 00:02:30 So Thomas you want, I need you to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Speaker 5: 00:02:35 So as Manny said, my name’s Tasha. I have been involved in the LGBT communities doing advocacy work with young people in Philadelphia, in the Lehigh Valley, out in the suburbs in Philadelphia through helping to facilitate queer straight alliances and gay straight alliances and also facilitating workshops for teachers as far as like LGBT. Excellent,

Speaker 1: 00:03:00 Excellent. And Chris, tell us a little bit about yourself if you could.

Speaker 6: 00:03:03 Hi. I’m Chris Exposito. I am a non binary gender fluid person. I am a self employed entrepreneur who does a combination of advocacy speaking all the way down to Tarot card reading. And I am Tasha stepmother.

Speaker 1: 00:03:21 Very good. Very good. Thank you both for being here today. We appreciate the expertise that you bring to the subject. So the first thing I think we want to start off with is kind of define what gender identity is and, and, and I have to put a disclaimer out there right off the bat that I’m not an expert in this area. So the research that I’ve done is research that’s generally available on the Internet. So let me give you what I thought was probably the best definition, Diane, and get your guys’ thoughts on it.

Speaker 7: 00:03:56 Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:04:01 So this definition comes from a site that we use quite frequently called teen talk from Canada and they define gender identity as Hamel person feels and who they know themselves to be. When it comes to their agenda, there are more than two genders, even though in our society, the genders that are most recognized are male and female, I’ll call it the gender binary. And usually a is based on someone’s anatomy, the configuration of the reproductive organs. They were born with a, this is referred to as gender assignment and is based on the assumption that someone’s reproductive organs match their gender. However, gender isn’t about someone’s anatomy, it’s about who they know themselves to be. There are many different gender identities including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary age, gender, Pan, gender, gender, Queer, two, Spirit, third gender and all or none of a combination of these.

Speaker 1: 00:05:05 A gender identity can be complex and people are defining themselves in new and different ways as we gain a deeper understanding of identities. Some term, some terms may mean different things to different people. There are certain terms some folks may like to use and call themselves and some terms they may not like to use. If you’re not sure what they call a person, it’s best to ask the person what they would be prefer to be called. A, it’s always up to us to decide how we identify and how we express our gender. However you decide to identify deserves to be respected and support it. So based on that how accurate is that definition?

Speaker 6: 00:05:52 Right. It’s pretty broad. And I would say that there’s a reason for it and especially with the different definitions from two spirit to gender fluid to non-binary because with each person’s expression, it might be just as vast a two spirit is actually been around with native American traditions even all the way back before settlers were even here. And so that brings in a different energy. It’s a little bit more fluid. Fluid usually means in both at the same time. Okay. So you have some people where a person who is transgender is still actually recognizes a lot of them, recognize them still within the binary, meaning male to female or female to male. The non-binary or the gender fluid part are people who do embrace or do feel both. Okay. At the same time.

Speaker 1: 00:06:52 Okay. I can see this distinction. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah,

Speaker 5: 00:06:57 I think she summed it up really well. I think just understanding that gender identity is based on what we feel ourselves and not necessarily what the outside world feels. Right. so even though the outside world may also see gender as a spectrum within our own self identities, we may have our own spectrum as well. So that’s what the fluid fluidity comes in.

Speaker 1: 00:07:23 And, and I think the biggest takeaway that I think I get from, from this myself is that’s not up to someone else to decide. That’s entirely up to you as an individual to decide and, and no one else has a right to, to make that decision for you.

Speaker 6: 00:07:39 Let’s take it to example, like even pull away from all of the gender and look at just a person who identifies as male, who is assigned male at birth, who knows himself to be a man and even within himself. What type of Man am I? What defines me as a man? What aspects of myself is manly versus not manly? And why is it society that’s deciding it? Or is it myself? Sure. Yeah. And then you take that and you broaden the spectrum for both men and women and then the gray area between and what makes something masculine or feminine. Okay. And it really is a bigger question internally.

Speaker 1: 00:08:18 Yeah. Yeah, that’s it. It is. It’s a much deeper topic and a much deeper questioning than I think society in general. Ah, gives it credit for. So there were a couple of news articles that actually popped up just this week as a matter of fact. And I wanted to throw them out there kind of anecdotal or the nanny thing.

Speaker 1: 00:08:45 So Marion Webster’s released their new words and definitions dish this week and they had added a new entry for the definition of the Pronoun they, now I will point out that on our lower thirds we all have our names and our contacts and so forth. And for the sake of today’s podcast, we are including the Pronoun we want to be identified by, which I think was a fantastic idea. So the pronoun they has now been expanded to be a way to refer to a non binary individual. I don’t want to go into, you know, the details on the article, but I think the fact that it’s gotten the mainstream attention to even get to this point I think is a statement of, of where gender identity is going. And I’d love to get tossed your thoughts on that.

Speaker 5: 00:09:41 I think that Merriam Webster coming out with this is really monumental. Especially for young folks who are maybe writing papers and still use a dictionary even if it’s on their computer or on their phone. Being able to see that they’re being seen and recognized and that they can use this, they can use that pronoun if that’s how they identify and they can not feel invalidated. Yeah. I feel like a lot of what I’ve heard from young people that I’ve worked with from friends our older adults, parents, teachers just kind of invalidating their use of the Pronoun or they’re claiming of that Pronoun by simply negating it with modern language. So I think that this is a great move for, for that visibility.

Speaker 1: 00:10:34 That’s awesome. Chris, your thoughts?

Speaker 6: 00:10:37 Well, you know, there are a lot of languages that have pronouns that are non-gendered English does not have it. Yeah. And so it was, it is nice to have it exist. Having the dictionary take it means that it has gotten to a point in our society where it’s common place and that really expands even further. Allowing people, I know that when I discuss it with people, they are stubborn sometimes in the concept that they is for plural. Right. And the example that I give them is if you’re at a coffee shop and somebody leaves a cell phone on the counter, the person would say, do you know who cell phone this is? And somebody would say, I don’t know. Does anybody know who’s it’s their phone? This person, they left their phone because they wouldn’t know what gender that person was. So we do actually use they in a singular, we just don’t really think about it. That’s true. Yeah. As you can tell by my subbing subhead I use, I go by all pronouns. So it depends on how a person is seeing me in the time in which I’m doing certain things. I have people who refer to me and he pronouns she pronoun and depending on the community I’m in or what that person sees from me.

Speaker 1: 00:11:57 Yeah. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Then the next story that we had here actually came from CNN and it was regarding a chart topping artists, Mark Ronson who recently came out and described himself as CPO sexual being attracted the people of intelligence. Is that something that’s a gender identity? I’m not, I’m not, I’m not sure. Can anyone lend any insight into that? Tash you, you look like you have a,

Speaker 5: 00:12:35 My, I feel like my face says more than my words as well. I’m a CPO sexual if you even want to label it as something other than superfluous. It’s not anything to do with gender identity at all. And I think that folks who identify as such or tried to like claim that proudly or kind of doing a disservice to the queer community,

Speaker 1: 00:13:05 Kind of what my thoughts were when I saw that and I was looking for shoes as to what they meant and what their intention was. And it’s almost like they’re there, they’re trying to claim some of that, that thunder that

Speaker 5: 00:13:18 Right. Like Sam Smith just announced the A, they identify with they them pronouns. So I think that having that come out, other people are trying to, I guess, hop on the bandwagon in a way. Right. which is just to me.

Speaker 1: 00:13:37 So is it, do you, Chris, let me ask you, do you think it’s, it’s a disservice to the gender identity movement to have some views or does the attention itself from a celebrity like that help the ask more?

Speaker 6: 00:13:54 So there’s two layers going on with this. First off, anything that involves sexuality is actually different than gender identification. So for example, I’ve had people say, what’s the difference between bisexuality and non-binary? Well, gender identification has nothing to do with who you’re attracted to. It’s all about yourself. Your sexuality is who you’re attracted to. So having somebody come out as, what is it, seniors, sexual, I can honestly say that is a phrase I’ve never heard of. Okay. And I’ve heard of a lot of them. One of them that is actually coming to surface in more of a general community is demisexual. Okay. A person who finds that they don’t have sexual attraction to anybody until they have an emotional connection and it’s the type of person who isn’t really gonna go to, you know, a bar and hit on somebody. They’re the type of person who knows that they can only fall in love and have a sexual attraction once they are connected to somebody emotionally. These types of labels for sexual attraction help in the dating pool, if you will. Okay. Because it does allow a person to explain themselves without it being a monologue explaining what you’re attracted to. Right. But I have not heard of sapiosexual before.

Speaker 1: 00:15:17 Okay. Well thank you for your thoughts on that. I think we’ll come back. We have some questions that Madison has to choose going to ask and I’d like to get your thoughts on it.

Speaker 7: 00:15:33 Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:15:35 I turn the floor over to you.

Speaker 8: 00:15:37 Alrighty. So we have about 17 questions here. Okay. And, and I wanna I want to get your thoughts on them and hopefully your answers and if we have some follow up questions to the questions or your answers, we will ask them. And so the first one is, can you s can you explain what gender identity means to you,

Speaker 6: 00:16:09 Chris? You’d like me to answer that. Okay. so as I mentioned earlier and I can only talk from my own background, there was a time in which you, you’re I was assigned female at birth and there is a time in which you question and ask yourself, what makes me feminine? What makes another person masculine? So when we talk about gender and defining it, it really, it does question what is society told us as masculine and feminine and where do we draw the line? There are a lot of people who are assigned female at birth who are cisgender women, who are women. And there are a lot of people, there are a lot of people who are assigned male at birth who are also women. What made their brain realize that their biological, their body, their physiological body wasn’t matching where they were feeling like they should have been. And that really is for me talking about gender. It’s about the internal questioning of where it all comes from.

Speaker 1: 00:17:20 And I think that’s a great way to put it is, you know, it’s, it’s, it adds, it’s a questioning of who you are, who you want to be and who you feel you are. So great answer. Did, do we want to pose that question to Tasha?

Speaker 8: 00:17:34 Sure. I mean I think Chris summed it up really well. And in my experience I was assigned female at birth. I was raised and socialized to interact in the world as a woman. I identify with my womanness

Speaker 5: 00:17:51 And I express that femininely and I think that’s getting into the other layer of gender expression. As Chris mentioned with the masculine and the feminine aspects I think that does come into play with gender identity, but that’s another layer of how we then express and show ourselves to the world where as gender identity is like up here in our heads shrink how we identify personally.

Speaker 6: 00:18:15 Good answer. Thank you. Next question.

Speaker 5: 00:18:19 Alrighty. So as long as this isn’t too personal question too is how do you identify?

Speaker 6: 00:18:27 Are you asking me first? Sure. Okay. So I identify as gender fluid. And primarily when I talk to people I just explained that I’m non-binary. I identify in both fluid forms between male and female, not just with whomever I’m interacting with, but within myself. So, and this is a place in my life that I am very comfortable with that definition where in my past in my youth I was always trying to escape a certain thing like that. A good example would be when I used to go to the gym, I wouldn’t work out my shoulders because when my shoulders are worked out, they get big and it didn’t feel feminine. And so I didn’t work out my shoulders because I didn’t feel that I fit what society wanted me to be. And when I finally got to a point where I was defining it, I was free to just kind of let my body be the way it needed to be. Okay. I can see that. Tanisha.

Speaker 5: 00:19:34 So as I would say in the last question, I, I was assigned female at birth. I identify as a cis woman and I always played sports. Growing up, I, I had issues with my body growing up as women usually do ’em in our society. We’re told to look a certain way, act a certain way. But as I’ve grown up and the environment that I was raised in I was able to expand upon what it means to be a woman. Like what it means for me to be a woman. And how I want to share that with others.

Speaker 6: 00:20:13 Can you give an example of how society imposes that will on you?

Speaker 5: 00:20:19 For instance, with body hair, I think that’s a big thing for me. Women are, I don’t want to go into like too deep detail, but in society it’s the ideal to have like for women to be hairless essentially. And there was a whole Friday and layer to that that we don’t need to get into on this podcast. But for me being able to allow my body hair to grow, I have armpit hair and I, I’m natural there. For me it was me reclaiming my femininity through expression of just embracing my body, her in that way. And I identify as like hard fam. So being able to like wear, like dress up very femininely and like a dress or like even the jumpsuit and just have my body here and be comfortable with that is really empowering.

Speaker 1: 00:21:13 Great example. Do you feel even now that you get looks or judged by people, anything along those lines?

Speaker 5: 00:21:21 I don’t really notice it. Sometimes when I go home for like family weddings, sometimes my family looks at me funny or their friends will. But there have been none, no, not that family, my biological family. But it’s in mainstream society, like recently I think there’s been a trend to grow out armpit hair and I’m like, okay, so now it’s hip to right to embrace your body hair for this season, I guess. And then we’re all just going to shave it off again. Right. So it’s interesting to see the different trends and the ways that body hair is used politically and socially.

Speaker 1: 00:21:58 Absolutely. Yeah.

Speaker 6: 00:22:00 Yeah. If I, if I may interject while we were talking about femininity I have a lot of friends that I’m part of the m m a t c mid Atlantic Trans Community and the Renaissance Trans community up in the Lehigh valley. And a lot of times when you have a person who’s a transgender woman, when they come into a level where they are living 24, seven feminine, they typically will resort to what they thought were feminine things such as getting your nails painted. You know, hot pink lipstick growing your hair long. And so you run into all of those layers of, this is what femininity looks like. There’s a certain shape to it. There’s,

Speaker 1: 00:22:49 You’re stumbling over yourself to show outwardly that

Speaker 6: 00:22:53 Exactly. You know, larger chest, even though we know that even women who are assigned female at birth who can have all different sizes, but it’s what society has imposed on top of what is feminine and you know, skirts and makeup and everything else. To the point that a person who is male doesn’t wear makeup, but why, why not if you have a blemish and you want to wear a cover up, but put some makeup on

Speaker 1: 00:23:27 Even from a Ma a societal standpoint, if a man does, you know, wear makeup for whatever reason, you know, it could be to cover up a surgical scar or something like that. He’s often shunned, you know, for, for that. And he’s made fun of for being feminine, for doing that. So yeah, I mean that’s a, that’s a very good, very good example. Next question dear. All right. So third question is sort of related to the second question, which is how long have you been identified how you are?

Speaker 6: 00:24:05 So I announced or at least claimed the title about six years ago. I had gone to the myzone centers Trans Wellness conference that they have in the summertime in Philadelphia. And when I went, I went as an educational advocate for what I fight for. There was this workshop that was for two spirits and anybody who identified in the out of the normal binary spectrum and it was probably the first time I think that they had done that workshop specifically. It had been given a very small room in the corner of the conference center. And I read the description subtle insult to no, I don’t think that they realized that it was this big. Ah, okay. This was six years ago and at that point the Trans Gender Conference was supporting for health and therapists and doctors to help support the transgender community. I don’t think they realized how big the gender fluid or gender non binary was.

Speaker 6: 00:25:22 So they figured it’d be a nice little workshop of a bunch of people who kind of were on the outlying. When I went to this conference and went to this classroom, it was spilling out from people. Wow. The room was full. We were sitting on the floor and I was in the doorway and then there were people in the hallway while we were speaking in the room, people were saying and repeating what was being sold out and they realized how big and that there are people who may be identifying as transgender who actually were non-binary because at the time it was one or the other, right. It was black or white man.

Speaker 1: 00:26:06 So let me ask you, was that a matter of them not knowing how to define themselves or just this concept itself hadn’t really been ?

Speaker 6: 00:26:14 I think the concept hadn’t been flashed out honestly, because I have always been the way I am when you know, let’s say 20 years ago I would have a conversation with somebody and just say something along the lines of, well, I’m not an atypical woman. Or I would say, I think this is the, my first life born as a woman and I would rationalize in my brain trying to match my body and explaining to partners how different I was than what they expected. I think that about six years ago is when it really started kind of coming to the surface where it wasn’t one or the other. You don’t have to be transgender and have gender reassignment surgery. Right. You can be in the spectrum of everything. And I think for me that was a big awareness that there were so many people like me. And then I finally got a label outside of being a weird woman to be able to use to explain myself to people. Interesting.

Speaker 5: 00:27:17 Tasha, did you want to Oh okay. I’m sorry. I will say aside, no. I am a CIS woman, so I’m trying to be an example of good allies. That means I don’t understand what that means. Oh, I’m this gender means that someone who is assigned female at birth identifies as a woman. So like it’s a straight line. Okay. Whereas a trans woman would be assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman. Okay. So Trans is, it’s like Latin. So SAS is same and then trans is like across. Gotcha. Okay. So that’s, I like to do a little bit of the visual, cause that one’s, that’s helpful. Yeah. Works. But I’m trying to be an ally because we’re talking about gender. I have a very privileged experience. While I’ve worked with trans non binary gender nonconforming communities. Chris has a lived experience with this. So I want to allow her to have that. Absolutely. Of course she was raised in my house. Yeah. next question three. All right. So the fourth question is why do you think people decide to identify themselves as transgender, gender nonconforming, gender queer and non-binary? Throw that the Tom’s first so she can get some thunder.

Speaker 5: 00:28:48 No. Founder. I think that having these terms and these identities tangible for folks who fall within that gray area between male and female trans or CIS. Like in those spectrums, there needs to be words and things that people can actually identify with. And I think what Chris was saying previously, like with the Trans Health conference, it wasn’t like being non-binary or falling in the middle. It was off of their radar at the time. Or wasn’t as in the forefront as it is today. And I think a lot of that is due to both queer elders being able to like come to embrace their identities, that it’s not just black and white. And then younger folks just finding the words and like finding community with each other and in these other identities.

Speaker 6: 00:29:42 And I think that’s beautiful. I think that they are really important for young people and old people like ,

Speaker 8: 00:29:51 She older and the elders. You can edit that out. Chris, what’d you like without physical violence or so, so we were, so the way you phrase the question was, can you repeat the question for me, Maddie? The question is how do, why do you think people decide to, to identify themselves as transgender, gender nonconforming, Queer Gender Queer and non binary?

Speaker 6: 00:30:23 Well, we’re going to pick apart as the beginning. Okay. Decide. I think that people don’t decide. They choose. It is, it is. So let’s think about that. You want to live your best life. You want to be your happiest self. You want to wear the clothing that makes you feel the most handsome or the prettiest. You want to not only like looking at yourself in the mirror but looking down and you also want when people see you, for them to see you whole see you as you feel like you are on the inside. So if a person is assigned male at birth and they don’t feel that they are attractive, you do what you need to do to make sure that when you meet somebody they see you. That’s just human nature at that point. It’s everything. Let’s use me as an example and I had wanted to bring this up.

Speaker 6: 00:31:21 A lot of traditional, a lot of majority of non-binary folks, especially assigned female at birth who then are in the community with me typically are known to dress androgynously. I am not an androgynous dresser. I am slim, buoyant for our younger audience who’s plain androgyny. Androgyny would be like a woman dressing in male clothes, a man dressing in female clothes, but still keeping their gender. It’s that kind of middle of the road. A woman of a woman wearing a suit would be considered androgynous. A man wearing a dress would be considered androgynous. It’s in that middle where you kind of blur the two for me. There are times when I’ll wear a collar and a button down, but I’m not really an androgynous stressor. But that’s not because I’m not non-binary. I am flamboyant. Meaning it doesn’t matter what gender I was born or assigned.

Speaker 6: 00:32:24 It doesn’t matter what Genitalia I have. I like feather and I like fur. And so I dress very flamboyantly. Typically it’s the hair. But typically when I go out and I’m dressed to the nines, I have some people who see me and don’t think that I’m non-binary because I am feminine presenting. Right, right. And so the decide part is the part that I wanted to kind of bring up. And the question, I think in a lot of cases, people don’t decide they survive. Yes, they are. They have to be. I am love, lucky enough to have been raised in a family that allows me to be me and to have raised a family in a genderless house. Meaning our gender did not dictate our chores, our jobs, what we should do, right. Who we should marry. But typically there are a lot of people, right. Would just crave to just have that. And so to find the gender for themselves is to reclaim who they should’ve been.

Speaker 1: 00:33:30 So if I, if I could take that very beautiful definition and, and it was, it was very eloquently put and sort of put a layman’s interpretation. It’s less of a choice and more of a discovery of self discovery. Absolutely. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Do Great. Okay, next question.

Speaker 6: 00:33:56 So next question is how do you think, what, how do you think people, I’m going to try to avoid this as best I can. How do you think people feel as though when they’re trans gender nonconforming, gender queer or gender or not or non binary?

Speaker 1: 00:34:15 So how do people discover yeah. When, how did they, how did they discover their, their gender identity?

Speaker 6: 00:34:22 I have a lot of friends who I have been with through the Aha moment. And it’s, and Tasha, I’m sure you have as well, where the conversation starts with maybe, maybe I’m, I’m gay, maybe I’m this mate and they’re trying to figure out what fits and it’s like putting on a different piece of clothing. Do I like this one or that one? And you put it on, you’re like, nope, that’s not comfortable and then I’m gonna try this label. Nope. That’s not comfortable either. Until you are in a place where you can say, this gender feels comfortable to me. There is a lot of exploration.

Speaker 1: 00:35:06 So Tasha, in the, in the outreach work that you do, is this something that you help individuals do to discover this in themselves?

Speaker 5: 00:35:14 So it’s creating that space for discovery, right? It’s, I’m having these discussions about it, allowing people to know that they’re not the only person who feels like they’re in this gray area and they don’t see themselves in the media or they don’t see themselves at home or in their communities. Right. so when I was facilitating workshops or I’m like organizing events, being able to see these students from across like Philadelphia come together and share in this community and discussing their identities or their experiences with families that aren’t accepting. It’s, it’s important work. Being able to find communities. So having centers like the Bradbury Sullivan Center and the Lehigh Valley we have the attic youth center, we have William Way community center in the city. But knowing that there are resources I think is really important for F for allowing for that discovery and also just as individuals who want to do the work to create that space individually. I think it’s important to just be aware that you don’t know if your friend may be like struggling with their identity.

Speaker 1: 00:36:29 So is it a matter of education that you provide or a safe space in which that discovery can occur?

Speaker 5: 00:36:36 I mean, it’s a little bit of both. I don’t do the direct community work that I used to do, but when I was in schools, I was working a lot with queer straight alliances or gay straight alliances. So sometimes we would have students in those groups or even my student leadership board, which we were members of different GSA is from across Philly. There was one student who over the course of the two years that I was working with them came out as trans. And now she’s doing a lot of drag work and advocacy around gender and drag which I think is a really important conversation. And so it’s a little bit of both being able to educate on the varying aspects of gender identity and sexuality and expression. And then also just having a space that says come as you are, come however you are. Wear whatever you want kind of thing is also very powerful and important

Speaker 1: 00:37:35 For my own education. Can you explain the difference between gay and Queer? Because queer ain’t growing up myself. I mean, I grew up in a very straight laced family, very straitlaced neighborhood. Queer was always, you know, an insult, right? What is the difference in today’s terminology?

Speaker 5: 00:37:54 So queer has been re-embraced by the LGBTQ communities. It’s now kind of in a, it can be an umbrella term for everyone under the LGBT community. And then some folks just identify as queer. And it’s taking back, it’s a reclaiming. I know that we’re doing content warning for cursing, but as the feminist movement has re-embraced the word Bitch I think that it’s something similar to that. If, if people are familiar with like seeing like feminism and women today kind of reclaiming that word, it’s similar to that.

Speaker 1: 00:38:34 Okay. Great. Well, thank you for that.

Speaker 6: 00:38:36 What is our next question? A number six is mainly directed toward Chris. Do people treat you differently than if you identified as biological gender, male or female? I hear Ya. So yes and no. So people who know me are pretty good with, yeah, it’s just Chris. Yeah. But what I have recently run into is a problem in I used to be part of a female retreat. And what we ran into with this retreat was it was specifically written for women only when they decided, when it was brought to their attention that their phrasing of women only was excluding that they chose to exclude trans women. It became a bigger fight. I got into the discussion with them about the idea of including trans women in their women only space because trans women are women. And what ended up happening was then it got even more gray because then the question was non binaries. What do you do with a person who wants to come to this retreat, who you can make the perception that they were assigned female at birth, but they identify as gender fluid, should they be included, should they be excluded? And where does that come in? The conversation got quite heated and unfortunately I actually lost friends that I had for over 20 years due to it. And due to the idea that they could express ex accept me as a person but not as a concept and so that was a little bit difficult.

Speaker 1: 00:40:41 Yeah, I can see that. Okay. Taj, did you want to add anything? Next question.

Speaker 6: 00:40:51 Alright, so question number seven is mainly for the audience, for the audience sake. I want to know someone’s gender identity, but I don’t want to be offensive is the polite way to ask.

Speaker 5: 00:41:08 So like Joe was saying before we started the podcast today I was asked how I wanted my name to show up and this is something that I do in work meetings. If I’m out somewhere, I’m showing my pronouns as CIS person is how I show allyship. By introducing myself with my pronouns, I try to make it less awkward.

Speaker 6: 00:41:34 I tried to say with that that this is a safe space that I want to see you for you, I want to know you. And I want to honor who you are and how you identify. So for me just being able to use pronouns and make it more normalized that as important. Okay. So I’ll tell you even I have a hard time sometimes asking people because everybody views the, the way that you would bring it up a little bit differently. Do you say to somebody, so do you, what, what are your pronouns? Like how do you bring that up? And, and, and sometimes it’s as simple as humbling yourself a bit to saying, I don’t want to identify you incorrectly. And then, you know, vulnerably stating your pronouns. I have a little bit easier because I can actually just say, hey, I go by all pronouns.

Speaker 6: 00:42:32 How about you? But you know, for anybody, I think that if it comes to be a conversation that is brought up, regardless of who’s in the room, and that’s the trick. If you only talk pronouns when you have a trans person with you, you out, somebody’s yes. But if you are in a business meeting or school and you all introduced your name and your Pronoun, then nobody’s outed. It’s always part of the culture. That’s a big step for society. It is. But you know, it’s already getting there. And if you start to notice I actually had a friend of mine went to an open house at a college and these were all kids who are 17, 18 years old. And their parent and the entire thing had names with their pronouns, all of the employees, everybody, their names and pronouns. And I think people walking around with their name tags all the time.

Speaker 6: 00:43:37 Cause I’m a terrible, what’s our next question, sweetheart? So question number eight is, have you ever had a different gender identity classification then you have identified now that two more and Chris? Oh my Lord. So yeah, most of my adult life will actually all of my childhood and most of my adult life I was identified as, and I was a woman. As I mentioned earlier, one of the things that I ran into was which aspects of my projection as a woman was actually who I was when and which aspects were just me playing a role. And you know, looking back at it, I won’t say that I was always the way I am now. I will that in different times of life. For example, I may be non-binary, but I’m a mother. I don’t identify as a father, but when I’m at Wawa, I’m a gentlemen and I opened the door for everybody. And so it really

Speaker 8: 00:44:46 That, you know, we laugh. But that’s a really a good point, you know, because that’s seen as the gentlemanly thing to do. But really it’s, it’s the decent thing to do, you know? Yeah.

Speaker 1: 00:44:57 That’s funny. Taj, did you have thoughts?

Speaker 5: 00:45:00 I mean, I think it was a personal direction of like I’ve always identified as the gender I was assigned or with the sex I was assigned and the gender I was socialized to identify with. But I do hold space for those different aspects that Chris was talking about too. And what do we equate with woman-ness versus mass manliness or masculinity. Because there are aspects that I hold and my identity as a woman, but that’s a different layer than identity, that’s expression. Cool.

Speaker 1: 00:45:40

Speaker 8: 00:45:41 Next question. All right, so question number nine is also geared towards, and Chris how has your life changed after you found your identity?

Speaker 5: 00:45:52 Well, what you think is the best one.

Speaker 1: 00:45:55 Okay.

Speaker 6: 00:45:56 It changed in some ways in some, I think it was just giving it a label. There was, there, I didn’t really have a coming out conversation with my children or anybody. It was just kind of like a, Oh, there it is. But you know, my parents, that was, that was kind of a conversation. And looking back at it, they both were like, well, that just makes sense. Yeah. And when you look back at pictures of me as a kid and things that I used to like to do, it wasn’t that I chose to do something because it was a masculine or feminine. I chose to do it because it was analytical and logical and that’s what my brain likes to do. And so I’m pretty lucky in those ways, but my life changed dramatically in where I put my energy for my advocacy and the fact that the Trans gender community has brought the non binaries into the Trans umbrella really does expand the advocacy to fighting for my sisters and my brothers. And so that’s where my life has changed and fighting for them. Interesting. For sure.

Speaker 1: 00:47:07 Next.

Speaker 8: 00:47:08 Okay. So since the past two questions, I’ve been geared towards an carism gonna we’re gonna probably go for Tasha for question 10. What kind of hardships do you feel trans people face?

Speaker 5: 00:47:22 I mean, acceptance of family and friends. Possibly being disowned. Society making it very difficult to create the identity that folks want, especially with legal documentation. Some states are now allowing gender neutral markers, gender markers on the licenses, which I think is fabulous. But it’s not like across the whole United States and it’s not international. Although other countries do have gender neutral, I think identification. Pennsylvania is going 20, 20

Speaker 8: 00:48:06 From a professional standpoint, do you think there are stigmatisms or hardships, you know, trying to get a job or trying to work in certain things?

Speaker 5: 00:48:13 Absolutely. Yeah, there’s, there’s discrimination everywhere. I think for Trans Folks even when Chris was talking about as far as IX, gender expression if a trans person hasn’t properly transitioned, are they going into an interview dressed as a man? And then just not able to live out their experience as a trans woman know in that arena of their life. Because that’s what safe, because in Pennsylvania you can still be fired for being trans, for being queer. Oh really? Yeah. I wasn’t even aware of that. A lot of states still still allow that. So I think that’s a huge thing. Also for Trans Women of Color there have been over almost 20 murders of trans women in the United States this year. And I think that that goes to law enforcement as well in profiling of trans people, but especially black trans women. Yeah. So it is,

Speaker 8: 00:49:23 That’s a shame. Yeah. And is this a shame? Next question. Alrighty. So question number 11 is sort of a Layla to the previous question, but it goes for almost every other gender, gender identification, which is why does society give people who don’t follow gender norms such a hard time,

Speaker 6: 00:49:53 Chris? Oh, that’s a loaded question. You know, one thing that we also didn’t mention yet is the higher suicidal rates that happened with people who are specifically transgender and during the discovery times. And that’s because of rejection from family and friends and society. And it puts a lot of pressure on them by having these titles, by having these labels, by having these communities, it allows people to have somebody to, if you will lean back on to help them when they’re going through the hard times. Suicide rates are dramatically high for teenagers who do not have support and drop, probably if I remember correctly, it was nearly 50%. If they have a support network, even if it’s a simple GSA and their school, which is gay straight alliance, just having a place where they can go to speak their truth, even if it’s just one counselor that they know is safe to speak to without it being something that’s going to come back.

Speaker 6: 00:51:00 So that is a very important thing for parents and teens, even if they’re just allies to recognize and to call out when they see somebody being belittled or teased because those small teasings as we all know is, especially teenagers, it sticks in your brain, even if it’s just a joke. Oh, it sticks in your brain. And so when you see somebody use the wrong phrase or you know, do something wrong, especially teenage, to teach somebody about gender, call them out on it because you’re defending somebody else. When when my youngest daughter was in middle school back awhile ago it was commonplace to use the word gay as an insult to say, oh, that’s so gay. And they all knew not to say that in my house, but one time somebody slipped and it was about 10 kids hanging out in the living room and one of them said, oh, knock it off, that’s so gay.

Speaker 6: 00:52:07 And I came down the stairs and I said, excuse me, not in this house. And they were like, oh, we were just joking, right? And I use the 10 examples and I said, we have 10 people right here and based on this, this, this statistics of our society, five out of 10 of you will not be straight. You will be trans, non-binary, gay, Bi, whatever it is, more than five of you are going to need to come out in one way or another. By using that insult, you’ve now told them they’re not safe. Right. And so that ended up being a conversation and I’ll tell you, I remember those 10 kids and I was dead on. Right? So when we talk about society and being hard on people, yeah, they are. People tease what is not considered traditional, but we tease somebody for wearing the wrong pair of pants. We tease somebody because their shirt doesn’t fit right. We will tease people over everything. Yeah. What happens is we don’t know the limits and the harm that we’re doing to other people. Do you think that that teasing is a lack of

Speaker 1: 00:53:26 Understanding, a lack of education, a lack of, or is it a fear of what they are? Like, what, what do you think is the psychological motivation of that type of behavior?

Speaker 5: 00:53:38 I think it’s a little bit of everything you touched on and also the culture that they’re surrounded by two at home. Like are they coming from a very far right, conservative religious household where they’re not exposed to being welcoming to all people to not judging others by the content of their character. Wait, that sounds kind of religious, doesn’t it? But seriously so I think, I think there are a lot of factors at play when when we think about the spaces that are or aren’t created for gender nonconforming trans and queer communities. One of the big things that was happening when I was working in schools in Philadelphia where the bathroom bills where some of the middle schools and high schools were trying to offer a gender neutral bathroom or a nurse’s bathroom for, for kids who were trans or non-binary. And that was still an issue with parents. Parents were concerned that a trans girl was using the girl’s bathroom and that that was going to then somehow make it unsafe for their daughters to use the bathroom.

Speaker 1: 00:54:58 Oh, we’ll get to the up tooth parent questions.

Speaker 6: 00:55:00 Okay. Okay. I got lost for that once. Our next question there.

Speaker 8: 00:55:07 Alrighty. So questions wove is how do you feel someone to treat a member of the LGBTQ community or if they decide to have a different gender than the traditional two genders?

Speaker 1: 00:55:24 Charlie, you want to be treated Chris a human. Amen.

Speaker 6: 00:55:28 That’s it. It’s real simple. Just like with everything with other religions, with other ways of, of people doing different jobs, people liking different things. Some people like English, some people like math and we don’t, some people who are blonde, some people have red hair, but we’re all people. And if we have the freedom to choose, so do they, and who are we to put on them what we decide for ourselves. Just like they don’t have the right to do it to us. Absolutely. And so to treat other people as you would like to be treated, eye contact, not talking, you know, poorly of a person. I think about how you feel. If you hear somebody talking about you as they’re walking away and if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it to another.

Speaker 1: 00:56:18 Yeah. And that’s really what it comes down to. And we touched on it before. Human decency, you know, there’s no reason to treat anyone differently than you want to be treated regardless of your gender identity or any

Speaker 6: 00:56:29 Anything else. And we all have experiences that have made us feel icky. Yeah. And we tried to ignore them, but sometimes maybe we remember them and make sure not to do them to somebody else.

Speaker 1: 00:56:42 Exactly. Exactly. My, my father was fond of saying nobody’s usually, she can only serve as a bad example. Next question.

Speaker 6: 00:56:52 Alrighty. So number 13 is what advice would you give someone who is unsure about how they identify? Gotcha.

Speaker 5: 00:57:03 If you have access to the internet or those kinds of resources, finding an LGBT center near you. Seeing if your school has a GSA or a QSA going online, sometimes they were really great resources online. Just to be able to explore definitions of gender, like the website you initially were looking at. I think that is really important for somebody who’s kind of exploring their identity, knowing, knowing that there are resources available and knowing how to use them. Being able to be a friend to somebody. Being able to be that person that a friend asked to join them to go to a community event or to try to go to the GSA for the first time. I think, I think our son,

Speaker 1: 00:57:52 So explain to me what GSA is are, when I was in school, we didn’t have a concept of a GSA

Speaker 5: 00:57:59 Gay straight alliance or a QSA, a queer straight alliance. Some people are using that term just to be more inclusive of trans folks as well. Sure. but it’s sometimes it’s an extracurricular club where they do advocacy events. They might fundraise for the Trevor Project or a local LGBT center community raising awareness about like the day of silence where people don’t talk for the day.

Speaker 1: 00:58:27 Well that’d be nice. Yeah.

Speaker 6: 00:58:30 Yeah. Also at school would be, it’s nice safe space. I think it started because back, especially in the 90s, they would have clubs that were for gay, lesbian, bisexual people. And what ended up happening was people wouldn’t go to the club because it outed them. So when they created the alliance, it was as long as you are an advocate and it doesn’t have to be that you, you know, have to show your membership card, if you will, in order to get into the club because you can be gay, straight, queer and ally, whatever. And it opened up and allowed people to enter into the conversation without actually feeling like they were an impostor.

Speaker 1: 00:59:16 I see. Awesome. Next question.

Speaker 8: 00:59:21 Alrighty. So number 14 is how would you teach younger kids about the LGBTQ community or about gender identity?

Speaker 1: 00:59:30 Now this seems like some of what you were doing time

Speaker 5: 00:59:33 A little bit. Yeah. so we would use different handouts and stuff. This is an awful handout. I don’t like to use it, but I don’t have the gender Unicorn. It’s the genderbread person. Okay. so this is just showing a breakdown. So gender identity is up here in the brain. That’s how we personally identify like we’ve been talking about. This is your assigned sex at birth and can also kind of represent how you were socialized growing up. And then in here is sexuality. So this is who you love, who you’re attracted to. So it’s kind of showing the separation cause sometimes folks will conflate any one of these three. So I think it’s a good visual just to see they are three different things.

Speaker 1: 01:00:20 Oh, that’s, that’s a great teaching tool, especially for you know, I described myself as ignorant in this topic because I just, I haven’t been exposed to it. You know, I’ve never had a chance to learn anything about it. That’s a, that’s a great way to teach. Next question.

Speaker 8: 01:00:36 Okay. So number 15 is if someone was on sure about their identity or is trying to discover it or what some people call an identity crisis, which I didn’t really want to phrase or use. How would you help them?

Speaker 6: 01:00:55 Truth. Okay. You know there’s a lot of ways that people go through these types of conflicts. Sometimes it’s actually just a friend hanging out saying that they’re having a conflict and sometimes it’s people who, let’s use an example. Do you know what a drag queen is? No. A drag queen is a performer, a person who is assigned male at birth, typically not so much anymore, but typically who dresses in an exaggerated performer kind of way, like with big hair and crazy makeup and then they sing in lip sync and perform. All right. A lot of people do and get into performance that way and then they start to kind of understand that maybe they are both and then have that conflict that way. There are some people, as I mentioned earlier, who identify as maybe they think they’re homosexual gay man, and then they realize that actually what their attraction is is because they’re actually a trans woman.

Speaker 6: 01:02:03 Each person has their own inner thoughts. But the way that you help somebody, well, honestly, I’ve even had people come over and just try on clothes for fun, you know, and sometimes it’s just allowing them I know that I come again, I’ll mention I come from a place of privilege that I can walk into a space and feel very safe, not only with the way that I look, but also the way I project. I’m, I walk in and I’m bigger than I than I am. So I will bring somebody who maybe doesn’t know anything about makeup and I will go with them to Sephora and we will have a party, if you will, and play around with makeup and have a good time and do it in public, in a safe space with me as an ally. And to allow that some people are very uncomfortable with being in public. And so I’ll have it Avon party. Okay. And it’ll be in my house and we all get to play with makeup and do that kind of thing because maybe a person just wants to explore once. Sometimes they say, I get it. And sometimes they say, no, that’s not the one. And then they keep exploring. It’s allowing that movement of I think I might be this way, and allowing them to explore and then maybe take it back and try something else.

Speaker 1: 01:03:25 So a couple of things keep coming up. When we were talking about this, the first one that comes to mind is safety. So it’s about creating, you know, a safe environment in which to educate, to explore and to discover. So, I mean, am I hitting the nail on the head there? Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 6: 01:03:44 And that is what a person who is an ally, just a human being who doesn’t have to necessarily understand but can create that space.

Speaker 1: 01:03:54 Right? Right. Without judging people. Right. And just accepting them for who they are and treating them like decent human beings. Next question.

Speaker 5: 01:04:04 Alrighty. So the next question is how do you feel about people who don’t really respect the LGBTQ community or people who have a certain nitrogen? I don’t gender that they identify as

Speaker 1: 01:04:21 I w I’d love to hear it.

Speaker 5: 01:04:29 How do I feel about that? How does that make me feel? Yeah. Like how I know that people intentionally want to cause her hate to people I care about and love and people who people who simply want to be able to exist as they are in safety and contribute to society as a whole to make society greater, to be the best version of themselves. I think that if there are people trying to take away from that,

Speaker 6: 01:04:57 Then maybe they should be taken away.

Speaker 5: 01:05:02 Okay. Oh, nicely put Tasha, when I follow it. Looking at the smarter, Chris, your thoughts on that?

Speaker 6: 01:05:13 You know, even within the people who make life difficult, there’s always a small percentage of them who actually just want to join the club. Yeah. And recognizing sometimes that their hatred is a reflection of how they see themselves, not the society. And it scares them and it really does and we run into that a lot in the news when you actually hear about somebody who was a politician or somebody who, a religious person who was like really anti-gay. And then there’s this big news thing about him dating somebody of the same gender and you get into this place where you have to wonder at what point was it that person’s exploration and they were not given that room. But it doesn’t mean that we allow them to walk all over people and to dismiss other people’s human rights. Right. You know, you can have your process and even your opinions, but just like with the constitution, once you’re invading somebody else’s right, then you need to be put in your place. I agree 100% I think we’ve got one more question in this category. Yeah, the final one, number 17 and I definitely think this is a good one to end on. Do you think society has come to a better understanding of the LGBTQ community or people who have, well, a different gender identification posture? I think we have come a long way as a society, as a world, but we have light years to go. Yeah.

Speaker 6: 01:07:04 There’s always room for growth goes well. I’ve been involved in fighting for this community for the better part of 30 years, if not longer. I’m going to stop keeping count after 30 years. And I’ll tell you a lot has changed and as much as we do have a lot of ways to go, I do go to my pride events and I see a stark difference in what it was back when I was younger. There were protesters outside who were threatening my physical body. There were people who were, you know, really threatening to do harm. And when I go to pride events now, there’s no more protestors. The events are bigger. And you don’t have to, you know, validate yourself to be there. You can be an ally. Anybody can be there. And so even within the community, I’ve noticed a changed as far as society goes. And the Internet has really helped broaden people in their vocabulary. Just us talking about the non-binary title, you know, six years ago versus now. There is a lot of growth is just some people move along clawing and wanting to go back where other people are saying but don’t you understand? We have always been here, right. We have always had people who were what used to be called cross-dressers. Yup. And now they have a more healthy psychological title that validates them. Sure. Then just being a fetish

Speaker 1: 01:08:44 And I think education, education, I think it is probably the biggest ally of gender identity. You know, the more people know the better society is. So we’ll come back with those of twos parent questions that I had mentioned earlier. So as a parent who came up in a straight laced society I, I’m sure I’m guilty of having some of these questions at some point in my life. But these came from a website that I didn’t write down the website for cause I didn’t want to bad mouth any websites out there. But I think some of these are questions that a lot of parents tend to have. So the first one I have is why should my child learn about gender at school? Tosh

Speaker 5: 01:09:40 I think foundationally gender in society has had a huge impact on the history that we learn in schools. And I think that having a better understanding of gender and the different ways it plays out in society, it doesn’t need to be like one course just on gender. I think that there are ways to incorporate discussions of gender which would help to normalize conversations around gender for those of trans or gender, Varian experiences. Just having some kind of discussion. We talk about gender in schools, but I think that we can be more intentional with it.

Speaker 1: 01:10:21 Okay. Chris?

Speaker 6: 01:10:23 So I come from your generation if not a little bit older. And I will say that what I was thinking when we were talking about raising about gender is this awareness that I came to, that we’ve had multiple generations and decades where we have been fighting for equality between men and women. And to the point that history books erase people of Color and women from history and primarily focus on the achievements of men, especially in American history. Yes. What ends up happening in all of that is talking about the difference between men and women. And we’ve had this movement to raise women up to be equal to men, right? The female equality movement since 50, if not longer and a hundred years. What if the answer to all of these years of, of feminist movement is that we don’t raise women up to being the same as men but rather erase gender. And so now it doesn’t matter, right? If you’re male or female, you’re human and you’re all equal. So I think that gender needs to be brought up in a conversation because we have to recognize that women in history have been erased. And that by bringing, if we want our children to be raised as peers to each other, then we need to have that conversation about gender and all of the things that come with that.

Speaker 1: 01:11:56 I agree. I think that’s a brilliant observation. Question number two is, isn’t my child too young? Did we learning about gender?

Speaker 6: 01:12:08 I think it’s

Speaker 5: 01:12:10 Never too early to talk about gender.

Speaker 6: 01:12:14 I think that as a society, most parents will socialize their children with colors, with toys where

Speaker 1: 01:12:27 Drawl a boy and you know how to draw a girl. So gender is introduced at that age.

Speaker 5: 01:12:30 Right? Or you have blue baby blankets, you have pink baby blankets or wallpaper. Yep.

Speaker 1: 01:12:37 Gender reveals before you were even born.

Speaker 6: 01:12:39 Right? Yeah. Which is this whole other thing.

Speaker 5: 01:12:43 Impose this on this tiny human and then just hope for the best. Yeah, I think that it’s just very, at a very young age, parents are already creating this, this identity and imposing it on their child. And so talking about gender and allowing freedom for young people to kind of explore that more could do so much. For just gender equality, I think. Or gender liberation, let’s say. Sure. and I, I do see more of that, I think. I think there are more parents who aren’t necessarily prescribing to specific gender norms or gender roles for their children and they’re allowing that exploration.

Speaker 1: 01:13:30 So wait, you’re going to educate your kids at that young age, Jeff from the full education don’t skew the education. Exactly. question the Jeff, did you want to, okay. Okay. question number three. If you’re talking about gender, aren’t you discussing reproduction and sexuality, Chris?

Speaker 6: 01:13:51 So, you know, it’s, it’s interesting because I was hearing what Tasha was saying and she’s right when we’re raising our children, we’re always discussing gender. We’re saying when you grew up in, you get married, when you have a wife or we say things like, well boys will be like that and girls are like this and you should be feminine and sure to do. And we, we, we impose a lot of these gender limitations. All right, so that’s something to, to kind of chew on when we’re raising our children. Rephrase for me the end of the question.

Speaker 1: 01:14:26 If you’re talking about gender, aren’t you discussing reproduction and sexuality?

Speaker 6: 01:14:31 Okay. So the question is why would you not discuss reproduction? And sexuality, your children are growing. A parent’s job is to raise their child to be the best grownup they can be. That means giving them the education and freedom to understand what is happening. I’m not saying we sit down a two year old and talk about sex, but there are times when you have to explain to a child what their parts are or what is allowed in public and what is not and and, and sexuality within themselves, attraction to other people. And so discussing gender and sexuality and consent and everything else should actually be part of child rearing.

Speaker 1: 01:15:15 So let me play the up twos parent here for Moe and Sarah. I looked at the diagram that Tanisha showed us and it tells me the gender identity has nothing to do with sexuality or reproduction. Correct. So why am I talking about sexuality? Reproduction when I’m trying to explain gender identity to my child?

Speaker 6: 01:15:34 That’s part of the whole, I think it’s about validating themselves as well as other people. Okay. Recognizing that the way that they think, the way that they feel and the parts that they have may not all have one title, but the same goes for those that they’re looking at. And to have that conversation, it still is part of your body. And I think that as a society, unfortunately we have a lot of sexual projection. And so even with you know, the questions to a kindergarten kid, if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend in school or right there, you’ve put gender in with sexuality. Absolutely.

Speaker 1: 01:16:18 Very good point. A question for won’t mind challenge, get confused if we speak about more than two gender options? Tosh,

Speaker 5: 01:16:29 I mean, look at any, well, growing up, I mean, I was raised on cartoons like the snarks. Gender was always very expensive for me. I feel like I was exposed to a lot of different ways to express identity, I guess is the best way to put it. And I think that that’s still the case today. I think even more so maybe.

Speaker 6: 01:16:56 Can you rephrase the

Speaker 1: 01:16:59 What my child get confused if we speak about more than two gender options,

Speaker 5: 01:17:05 I think that there’s already representation in some of television shows where there are hints at Trans Characters. I can’t think of any like child shows right now off the top of my head. But the new reboot of Rocco’s modern life has a trans character. Okay. so I think just being able to normalize in society, the fact that there are multiple genders being able to answer the questions I think as a parent is really important. Just being able to be aware that there like to accept that there are more than one gender and then having the resources to then discuss it further.

Speaker 1: 01:17:47 Madison, let me ask you, you know, having this discussion now and discussions we’ve had leading up to this, do you get confused by, by the concept of more than two genders?

Speaker 8: 01:17:58 Well, to be honest, no, actually I’ve learned, I’m not one of those people who think like there’s just two genders. I’m not really confused by like I might be confused with the definition of each gender, but once I learned and I’m pretty sure I can, I’m, I’m gonna be pretty fine with it. I don’t get confused easily one discussion discussing about gender despite my, despite not knowing too much about it, I do know like what, what transgender means would non by name means. I mean I know some of them, some I’m still unsure about, but I’m pretty sure once I learned them just like how I learned all the other genders that I know, I’m pretty sure I’ll be, I’m fine with understanding them.

Speaker 1: 01:18:50 So you, you know, you’re, you think the average teenager, it’s not that confusing and I think that’s the important aspect that parents need to understand.

Speaker 8: 01:18:59 Yes. Like it’s more credit. Yeah. Just like you need to make sure that you just, as long as you are comfortable with speaking about it and making sure your child knows about it, your child will be fine and everything will be good.

Speaker 6: 01:19:15 Okay. Can I interject? I was just thinking absolutely. That question is phrased like the parent assumes their child is not another gender. Yes. And that is actually one of the things, because you have to ask yourself, are they confused or are you validating? Assuming that your child wouldn’t be one of them could be a problem.

Speaker 1: 01:19:39 Yeah, I agree. I agree. It’s a, it, it’s a question that comes from the standpoint of an assumption to begin with. Question number five is a multi-part and kind of complicated, so we’ll tackle it. Slowly. don’t gender expansive kids have lots of problems. So is nonconformity a product of abuse, you know, if they’re not conforming to the gender that they’ve been assigned is it a sign of emotional problems or neglect or divorce, you know, with the, we always see these, these kids that are, you know, gender confused or a product of divorce, of broken families. Or is this, is this parents trying to explain away what kids really are? Chris,

Speaker 6: 01:20:30 I’m not a result of divorce or abuse. So, so there’s that. I think that our human mind wants to get to the root of it. And I think that when there’s something that we really don’t want it to be the way it is, we try to figure out what we can fix. So it goes back to the way it used to be. Yeah. And what if it’s, it just is, as I said, we’ve had people who have been transgender for hundreds of years. I, it’s just that back a long time ago if and when they were found out they were killed or imprisoned. But they were there. And if you look in American history and in world history, they’re there. And so you know, speaking that we’re talking to sleet to parents I have often said, who is to say that what the soul needs to accomplish doesn’t, is not matching the genetics that you were born.

Speaker 1: 01:21:33 Yeah. Yeah. That’s a, it’s a beautiful, we’re looking at it. Won’t discussing gender and carriage might child to be transgender.

Speaker 5: 01:21:50 I’m going to look at Tasha for that. I think we’ve been talking about this since the beginning of this kind of side of the conversation. We’re always talking about gender. Parents are always talking about gender.

Speaker 1: 01:22:03 Well like if I, if I introduced by child to the concept of transgender, isn’t there a a danger will saying in quotes, is there a danger in air quotes of them becoming transgender?

Speaker 6: 01:22:15 Isn’t there a danger of then creating a safe space in case your child is trans or gender nonconforming? Goddess forbid you create a safe space and create visibility

Speaker 1: 01:22:29 And, and you know, again, it’s one of these, it’s a question from a standpoint of an assumption and of ignorance of, you know, if my child is not the way that I want them to be, then there’s something wrong with them. And you know, I think that’s a statement of society too.

Speaker 6: 01:22:46 Yeah. And that’s fear based like you were, we were talking about. Yeah.

Speaker 1: 01:22:49 Yeah. I will sum up with this last one that I have here. I don’t really feel like I know the answer to my child’s questions. I mean, how can I help them when they come to me with these, what are my options, Chris?

Speaker 1: 01:23:06 When they personally I would reach out to community centers. And a lot of them have libraries and talking points and discussions and podcasts like this. There are lots of ways for people to become educated in order to answer the questions. But I’ll tell you from a parent’s point of view, the most refreshing thing you can say to your child is, I don’t know. Yeah. And the most refreshing thing that you can say to them is validate the stress they’re under. Especially I’ll say middle school perfect example. Both my kids middle school was difficult and the only way that I could get them to understand that I understood that it was difficult was to say, yes, it sucks and thank goodness it ends. Yeah. And validate it. And then from there say, well, what can we work with what we’ve got now? So if they ask a question that you don’t know, rather than, Oh, why are you talking about those things? I don’t want to talk about that stuff. Instead, you own what you don’t know. Yeah. That vulnerability allows them to know that they don’t have to know everything when they grow up. But we can go and find the answers together. Sage advice, sage advice. We will come back and get your final thoughts, Mattie, and any shout outs that you have,

Speaker 8: 01:24:32 Go for Maddie. Alrighty. So I’m gonna phrase this best I can. So for the audience for teenagers who have, are discovering are still discovering their gender, just know that there you, you’re not alone and those society might disagree with your decisions. You shouldn’t let people as my foe, as you, as daddy you said earlier, you shouldn’t let other people can you shouldn’t let other people, you can let other people think about who you think stuff about you, but you can’t let, can’t let them change who you are and for finding your gender, go with who you want to be if you are a girl. But if you’re a female but you don’t like to wear dresses or skirts like me, that’s fine. And if you still want to be a identified a certain gender, but where things that society might not see identifies with that gender, who cares? Okay. Any shout outs today, I’d like to give a shout out to our guest stars for joining us and also educating both of us along with our audience. I’m on gender

Speaker 1: 01:26:03 Identity and how they’ve been able to help society. Very good. I do want to thank you both so much. It was extremely educational for me. I appreciate the insights and I think that’s all. Did you guys have anything you want to sum up with? No. Okay. I think that’s it for us for this week. Thank you so much. And we’ll catch everyone next week.

Show Notes

  • Preface
    1. This week’s topic is Gender Identity

    2. This is a continually evolving concept in today’s society

    3. As a result it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted

    4. Today’s discussion will attempt address many of these misconceptions

    5. During the course of this discussion other sensitive topics such as sexuality, reproduction and sexual preference will be mentioned or discussed

    6. Some parents may find these topics inappropriate for their children at this time

    7. We encourage parents to view the content of this weeks podcast themselves either before your child does or with your child

    8. It is our hope to further the discussion of these important topics in order to better educate our audience and promote a safe and communicative environment to support everyone

    9. Thank you, please enjoy the podcast

  • Introductions
    1. Insights Into Teens: Episode 34 “Gender Identity”
    2. My insightful and intelligent co-host Madison Whalen
    3. On my right we have Tasha Wirth and Khrys Exposito
  • What is Gender Identity
    1. Teen Talk Canada

Gender identity is how a person feels and who they know them self to be when it comes to their gender. There are more than two genders, even though in our society the genders that are most recognized are male and female (called the gender binary) and usually is based on someone’s anatomy (the configuration of reproductive organs they were born with).

This is gender assignment and it is based on an assumption that someone’s reproductive organs match their gender. However, gender isn’t about someone’s anatomy, it is about who they know them self to be. There are many different gender identities, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

Gender identity can be complex and people are defining themselves in new and different ways as we gain a deeper understanding of identities. Some terms may mean different things to different people. There are certain terms some folks may not like to use or call themselves and some terms that they may like to use or call themselves. If you’re not sure what to call a person, it’s best to ask the person what they would like to be called.  It is always up to us to decide how we identify, and how we express our gender. However you decide or identify deserves to be respected and supported.

  • Gender Identity in the News

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is adding a new entry to the definition of the pronoun “they”: a way to refer to a nonbinary individual, one who identifies as neither exclusively male nor female.

It’s been a year of heightened visibility for nonbinary people, from the popularity of MTV’s dating show “Are You the One?” — which counted nonbinary folks among its cast members — to the Grammy-winning artist Sam Smith’s recent decision to use gender-neutral they/them pronouns.

Merriam-Webster’s addition is yet another recognition of the cultural relevance and growing acceptance of nonbinary identity, and it gives new credence to the increasingly common use of they/them pronouns.

Emily Brewster, a senior editor for Merriam-Webster, said factors like the growing practice of soliciting or giving out one’s pronouns, the growing number of people who identify as nonbinary, and the acceptance of the nonbinary “they” pronoun in a wide variety of texts all coalesced to make the new addition an obvious choice.

“We are always aiming to reflect usage,” she said. “It’s very clear that this is fully established in the language at this point.”

The nonbinary “they” is one of 530 new words and definitions already added to and will appear in its next printed edition, alongside words like “fabulosity” and cultural references like “dad joke.”

Chart-topper Mark Ronson has come out as sapiosexual. In case you’re not familiar with the term, it means being attracted to intelligence above other traits — or, in other words, putting brains before looks or gender.

  • Common Questions Regarding Gender Identity
    1. Can you explain what gender identity means to you?
    2. How do you identify?
    3. How long have you been identified how you are?
    4. Why do some people identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary?
    5. How do people realize they’re trans, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, or nonbinary?
    6. Do people treat you differently than if you identified as biological gender?
    7. I want to know someone’s gender identity, but I don’t want to be offensive. Is there a polite way to ask?
    8. Have you ever had a different gender identity classification than how you identify now?
    9. How has your life changed after you’ve found your identity?
    10. What kind of hardships do trans people face?
    11. Why does society give people who don’t follow gender norms such a hard time?
    12. How do you feel someone should treat a member of the LGBTQ community?
    13. What advice would you give to someone who is unsure of how they identify?
    14. How would you teach younger kids about the LGBTQ community?
    15. If someone you know went through an identity crisis, what would you do to help them?
    16. How do you feel about people who do not respect the LGBTQ community?
    17. Do you think society has come to a better understanding of the LGBTQ community
  • Questions Parents have regarding their children and gender identity
    1. Why should my child learn about gender at school?
    2. Isn’t my child too young to be learning about gender?
    3. If you are talking about gender, aren’t you discussing reproduction and sexuality?
    4. Won’t my child get confused if we speak about more than two gender options?
    5. Don’t Gender-expansive kids have lots of problems? Is gender non-conformity a product of abuse, emotional problems, neglect, divorce, detached, or over-involved parents?
    6. Won’t allowing children to express non-traditional genders cause them to be teased or harassed?
    7. Won’t discussing gender encourage my child to be transgender?
    8. If transgender people are so ‘normal’, why are some families so private about it?
    9. How can I correct or modify the impression I have already given my child about gender?
    10. I don’t really feel like I know how to answer my child’s questions.