In 1918, pink was the color associated with baby boys, and blue was the color associated with baby girls. It’s interesting to consider that this gendered approach to colors is exactly the opposite in today’s society (and why it unnecessarily persists), and it leads us to ask many other questions about how a dominant society has decided to define the concept of gender, both now and historically, as well as for the future of today’s children.
We hope you are able to attend the Parent education event, “Dimensions of Gender”, this coming Friday, May 5th at 9:15 in the 6th grade Humanities room, immediately following our First Friday assembly, to explore this topic in depth with a panel of administrators and faculty.
Gateway School explicitly values the courage to promote a just society, and this year our faculty and staff have committed to investigating our understandings of gender more deeply, with the guidance of Joel Baum, Senior Director of Professional Development at Gender Spectrum. We know that gender impacts every child, that transgender and gender-expansive youth face great difficulties, and that creating a gender-inclusive school creates a better learning environment for all children.
We’re excited to share the key concepts that we’ve learned and that have helped us start to rethink some of our biases and practices regarding gender. We’ve learned how bodies/sex occur on spectrum, not just as “male” and “female”; how expression is influenced and gendered by social constructs; how to appreciate individual identity and self-knowing on the part of each person around their gender identity; how gender identity and sexual identity are different; and much more. And, we’ve begun translating this understanding to action, by rethinking our approach to language, to appearance, to behavior, and the biases inherent in the socially dominant binary model.
Being a gender-inclusive school does not mean we don’t pay attention to similar or different experiences and dynamics between or among boys or girls; in fact, we must make space for those gendered conversations to happen, and to work directly with the students having those gender experiences. And, as we do this, we are committed to having a safe and inclusive space for those children who do not fall neatly into the descriptive category of boy or girl where body, expression and identity all align within the binary model.
I hope you can join us on Friday.
Dr. Zachary Roberts
Head of School