Little Em Starts Kindergarten: #ResistingGender

My Little Em is starting kindergarten.

My ferocious barracuda baby.

Copy of october 2008 030_2

Starting school brings with a whole host of things to do. Buy shoes, lunch boxes, backpacks, etc. It also requires filling in forms.

I have a problem with forms. Forms that ask about gender.

I get eye-twitchy.

I do not see how selecting one of the two options has any bearing on who my child is and how she Little Em will be educated.

And so, I resist. I make my own box.


We have our interview with her new teacher, I pass her the form, she doesn’t even blink.


Part of me wants her to ask why I did that and part of me wants her to just accept it and move on to the next question.

Engaging in these conversations is great, but power can come into play and make things complicated.

I hope to open a dialogue with the school at some point about gender and how we talk about it at school. I want to ask why “boys” and “girls” are often separated, even at this young age, for activities like sports. I want to ask about where there is space for children who might be questioning or who don’t fit neatly into the box of M:_ and F:_

We are sending a message very early to our children that these are the only options. There is little discussion of how flexible gender actually is and there is an assumption that most experiences and preferences are the same for all boys and girls. Many would say there is more variation within gender then between.

Have you ever resisted checking off these boxes? Have you challenged gender at your school?

Tell us about it!




About Theresa

Writer, sister, mother, human.