Author: Julia Gonsalves
Julia Gonsalves spent many years writing for Xtra! and many more years writing poems that no one has ever read. She has a history in non-profit program management, and was a former Economic Development Manager at Canadian Women’s Foundation.
This story was originally published in the Spring 2016 issue of SHE Magazine.
“Are you having a boy or a girl?”
I wonder how much longer we’ll ask expectant parents this question. Maybe instead we should start asking ourselves why assigning a gender at birth is so important to us.
More and more young people in Canada are starting to express their gender in unique ways that go beyond the masculine/feminine binary. As parents, it is critical that we respond with love, curiosity, and an open mind.
There is a diversity of gender in our world! Diversity as in many, many more than two. Gender as in how one self-defines as perhaps a woman, man, both, neither or something else entirely, and as distinctly different from sex or sexuality.
Gender diversity is amazing! There are a zillion sorts of identities, expressions, bodies, voices, preferences, styles, and haircuts. Like many amazing things, gender diversity can also be confusing, especially for folks who maybe realized a little more recently than others that there are these zillion sorts. People often have some burning questions in the early days, like:
- What do I call people?
- How do I recognize who is like me and who is different?
- How can I relate to people when I don’t know what they are?
- What if I offend someone?
What does it take to be extraordinary? It may take less than I thought.
The YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards honour women who have contributed significantly to the advancement of women and girls in Canada and beyond, through their work, their art, and their unique commitment to women’s issues. The 2015 Awards were distributed on May 21, 2015. Among them was Marilyn Emery, CEO of Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.