"When you were born you were given a name and a pronoun, probably he or she.
As you get older and know yourself more and more on the inside some of the ideas of she and he may fit you and some of them may not.....
On the inside, you may not feel like he or she at all, maybe they feels the most free, or you may feel like both she and he.
But mostly you probably just feel like yourself..."
Pronouns are a way of extending your gender out into the world. They can be used to bring your true self into greater focus, or maintain fluidity. They can also be used to maintain safety and privacy.
Alone, in your own mind, gender can be pronoun-free and perfectly nonbinary as “I, me, myself.”
Pronouns are power.
Tree is to affirm that we need more words that reflect the deeper meaning of who we are. Especially ones connected to nature. Language is OURS! We must move beyond the binary in how we speak. (Read more about Tree below)
They She He Me and Call Me Tree: Two children's books using pronouns to breakdown gender stereotypes and assumptions
By beginning early and sharing age appropriate books that help kids see through gender assumptions, gender expansive kids can relax and trust that they are perfectly natural and valuable. And kids who are cisgender can know that they are part of a larger picture of natural diversity. This sets the stage for more learning about diversity and inclusion as they develop and helps dismantle gender based bullying before it begins.
View Maya Gonzalez reading Call Me Tree and They She He Me along with a sneak peek of her newest book They, She, He easy as ABC .
A perfect companion to The Gender Wheel, They She He Me: Free to Be! Check it out if you want to play with pronouns! You may see some familiar faces.
Keep inclusive perspectives alive with a poster!
By being intentionally gender free, Call Me Tree provides for some a much needed break from the constant boy-girl assumptions and requirements. It can also provide a moment to pause and consider those assumptions, requirements and their impact. Download the in-depth Reader's Guide created by Maya.
Despite the fact that there are no gender specific pronouns, reviewers have assumed the main character is a cisgender boy. The main character is actually based on someone assigned girl. The specificity doesn’t matter as much as the opportunity to notice the assumption.
Many of us assume a child with short hair, dressed in a t-shirt and pants is a cisgender boy. What does an assumption like that fully communicate? About gender requirements? fitting in? living up to expectations? being accepted? Who does it leave out and what is the impact of being excluded?
Call Me Tree also opens up the possibility that it’s ok not to know the gender of a child. No matter what their gender identity may be, what is valuable is that they feel free, strong, a sense of belonging and appreciative of difference and sameness in themselves and others.
For Kids, Call Me Tree offers opportunities to:
- Become aware of gender assumptions and stereotypes and step away from "guessing" people's pronouns and gender based on stereotypes.
- Explore international, multicultural perspectives on gender beyond western ones.