10 Criteria to keep GENDER FREE

10 criteria to keep Gender FREE in educational materials and children's books
Encouraging play and relaxation, Creating free space, Putting the onus on the system.

All of these areas are explored in-depth in our Gender Wheel Trainings. In our trainings we also dive into how to talk to kids about "the Girl Boy Lie" (aka patriarchy and systemic oppression)

Explore More: Dive into our quick 3 part primer, What are We Really Saying to Kids? and explore how to use language to be more inclusive.

Criteria to keep GENDER FREE

GROW from truth and beauty

Body and gender diversity are a necessary and intrinsic part of nature contributing to the resilience of our species. Books & educational materials should honor and celebrate this as a normal part of learning and understanding the world.

EXPLORE infinity and nuance

We are not now nor have we ever been two kinds of bodies, two genders, or two ways to behave in the world. We were never two. We have always been infinity. Books & educational materials should strive to show the countless ways humans can be and express themselves.

NEST deep in diversity

To gain greater and greater understanding and inclusion of all people, we need to de-center traditional, patriarchal narratives and voices. Diversity must not only be in the visual representation, but also in how a story is being told and who is telling it.

DANCE away from finite labels and definitions

This is about letting kids explore who they are freely without limiting their expression with labels.
When it comes to self, encourage inner authority and authenticity.

EVALUATE safety in current systems

Look at how kids are being portrayed in relation to safety in a larger world context, especially in regard to power dynamics. For example, we know that trans women of color are at greatest risk in our culture. Are young trans femmes of color shown in safe, secure ways?

REALIGN with truthFULL stories

Adopting new ways to make books inclusive changes everything! We have the power to choose HOW we read including calling out falsehoods and distortions. We have the power to include everybody right now! Engage the Gender Wheel Reading Protocol.

FOCUS on voices from the community

Lived experience cannot be underestimated. Prioritize books and materials written by the Queer/Trans/Intersex community. First/Own Voice authors with lived experience have greater insight into not only their oppression, but also their joy and beauty.

REMOVE problematic “guessing” narratives

Narratives about gender that say an adult or doctor made a guess about a baby’s gender based on their body is not a true statement. In our current culture gender assignments/expectations are attached to sex assignments. These are not guesses or assumptions. “Guessing” narratives fail to interrupt systemic oppression and in fact, continue to affirm it. They also trivialize the pressure of conformity, sidestep systemic and personal responsibility, and preserve privilege.

END Cissexism

While they may not mean to, narratives about gender by cisgender people usually unconsciously have an implicit bias that prioritizes cisgender people.

EXPOSE the “Girl Boy Lie”

You can’t talk about gender without addressing the elephant in the room: the intense, constant pressure to conform to stereotypical gender roles. This has a huge impact on kids’ development and is at the heart of the “Girl Boy Lie.”
Smash the Girl Boy Lie - The Gender Wheel