Gender Assignments are not a Guess

Assignments, Assumptions, Expectations, and Guesses....oh my!

Narratives about gender, especially in children's books, 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. Guess narratives trivialize the pressure of conformity, sidestep systemic and personal responsibility, and preserve privilege.

Understanding the distinction is not about a children's book having to be perfect or just not liking word choice. It is about understanding how implicit bias impacts stories and the deeper nonverbal messages that they send especially in regards to body and gender oppression. If implicit biases are not confronted and dealt with, these biases infuse the stories we tell in more ways than one and inadvertently end up reconfirming the very oppression we are trying to dismantle.

How to Tell if it's a guess, assumption, expectation or assignment about someone's gender - flow chart

Why is this important to understand?

From a nature-based, decolonized and holistic perspective, having accurate context of systemic oppression is key. In an equitable world we wouldn’t be doing ANY of these things above.

BUT, if we don’t understand how labels at birth are currently determined and what they are based on - stereotypes, behavior requirements, and privilege - we do not have accurate context to understand why oppression is happening and continues to happen to anyone who does not conform.

Without context, all the responsibility for oppression then rests on an individual’s body, and specifically on the trans body for not conforming to a false binary, instead of where it should be placed - on the oppressive system and its assignments.

Get the Coloring Page

How to Tell if it's a Guess, Assumption, Expectation, or Assignment about Someone's Gender

Coloring Handout - How to Tell if it's a guess, assumption, expectation or assignment about someone's gender - flow chart

A coloring page of the flow chart above! Coloring is not just for kids and brings in the nonverbal, offering an opportunity for greater embodiment through holistic and alternative ways of understanding and knowing.

For parents, educators, therapists, community members, and anyone wanting to expand their understanding of gender in a facilitated format

Highlights why a fundamental shift in how we think and talk about gender is critical for us to move forward into a new world that supports, celebrates, and values everyone.