The Genderbread Person Isn't the Way | Zander Keig

I grew up in what I felt like was a progressive society.In school we had broken through the idea of strict gender roles; we were taught that men and women could have any career that they wanted. On the playground boys and girls played together.

I am a trans-man, but as a young girl I never felt that there was anything a girl couldn’t do that a boy could. Today, I have noticed a major shift in the lessons being taught to kids.

Through the use of models such as the “Genderbread Person,” the “Gender Unicorn,” and the “Gender Elephant,” kids are being taught that gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex are spectrums—with many different points on them and labels within them.

These models aim to account for and include a wide range of identities. The idea of a "spectrum" sounds much more freeing and flexible, but is it?

To create these spectrums, we have to first accept stereotypes about gender. The first spectrum of “Gender Identity” asks “how you, in your head, define your gender based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for that gender." But how are children to understand those options? Far from freeing, this model asks us to see the options that are available within our gender as traits that are fixed, immutable, and stereotypical. If we don’t identify with those traits, then we must be a different gender. - Zander Keig


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