The final post in my blog series was done in two sections, if you missed the first part on THE BINARY & THE HOLISTIC SELF, find that here. And, if you missed any of the last four weeks on NATURE, MULTICULTURAL AWARENESS, INDIGENOUS HISTORY, & EARLY US HISTORY check those posts out here.
WELCOME TO the second part for this WEEK – THE HOLISTIC SELF & THE GENDER WHEEL!
As we close this gender series with the second section of PART FIVE, we open our eyes to a whole new way. Firmly embedded in the truth that queer/trans/intersex people and experience are everywhere throughout nature, we move into new, truthfull ways of perceiving ourselves and the world around us. Using holistic thinking to keep the truth alive, we turn now toward the holistic self and gender, and ultimately land on The Gender Wheel.
With The Gender Wheel as a resource to navigate the world, more truth and ways to include every body open up! A tool to find yourself and understand our community in holistic ways.
As parents, educators and activists we have the power to expand beyond the gender binary, learn about and use more gender neutral pronouns and create lasting change. Now is the time for a whole, true world for us and our kids!
Step into the circle, where we ALL belong!
In the first section we explored the holistic self including exercises to call in more of your own holistic self. Now we continue on.
Here is a reminder of what the holistic self includes, as well as an image of those elements in concentric circles. Both images are the holistic self.
The HOLISTIC SELF includes: BODY, SPIRIT, MIND, HEART and the UNKNOWN.
THE HOLISTIC SELF AND GENDER
Just like a holistic perspective of gender can be seen in the world by including the truth about nature, global cultural awareness, indigenous North America and early US history;
a holistic perspective of gender can be seen by including the truth of the WHOLE SELF.
BODY: the body you have – intersex, trans, cis and more
SPIRIT: that inside sense of who you are of which gender is a part
MIND: how you interpret your sense of self to the world, pronouns are a way to communicate who you are within the current culture or reality
HEART: your self in relationship, including partner, family, friends and community
UNKNOWN: all that is yet to be discovered about yourself
By truthfully including all of the kinds of bodies present, you can take a significant step away from the false binary. In the most basic sense there are at least 3 kinds of bodies: Intersex, Transgender and Cisgender. In order to create familiar landmarks, and because they are still so widely used, I add the markers of boy and girl to these three. This expands people to a minimum of 6 kinds of body: intersex girl/boy, transgender girl/boy, cisgender girl/boy. Within these 6 body types, there are countless variations, some of which reach far beyond these limited words. Body variation is a fact in all species. It’s prevalence in relation to sexual organs, inside and outside, marks it as an important and necessary trait of biodiversity within a species.
Truth clears the path of false debris. There were never only two kinds of bodies.
Spirit: Life Force, Personality, including Gender.
In the last 120 years there have been numerous attempts at trying to locate, define, explain gender. But a full understanding of gender remains elusive in Western culture. Considering the binary and the systems of oppression, is there room for gender to be fully understood in this context? Or is that the point? Erasure.
Here are two points of reference. One is from 154 years ago, another from 29 years ago, both are moments of naming self in relation to queer/trans identity in relation to Western culture.
“Male Body with a Female Spirit”
The first person within Western culture to publicly define and defend what would later be called homosexuality was Karl Heinrich Ulrichs.
“Already in 1864 and 1865 Ulrichs had published a series of five booklets presenting a new scientific theory of homosexuality, the so-called third sex theory, which, by asserting that the condition is inborn and natural, formed a basis for his demand that the contemporary antihomosexual laws be abolished.” “The essential point in his theory of homosexuality is the doctrine that the male homosexual has a female psyche…” Psyche is defined as human soul, mind or spirit.
“… to the point of his theory, he recalled that as a child of three and four years he wore girls’ clothes and found it painful when he first had to put on boys’ clothes. He protested, “No, I want to be a girl.”
– Karl Heinrich Ulrichs: Pioneer of the Modern Gay Movement, Peremptory Publications
Note: This was the same time that Darwin began publishing his theories about nature in 1859 through 1881.
“Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders” Indigenous North America
“At the point of contact, all Native American societies acknowledged three to five gender roles: Female, male, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male and transgendered. LGBT Native Americans wanting to be identified within their respective tribes and not grouped with other races officially adopted the term “Two Spirit” from the Ojibwe language in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1989. Each tribe has their own specific term, but there was a need for a universal term that the general population could understand.”
– Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders, Indian Country Today
The term Two Spirit cannot be directly translated into LGBTQI definitions. As Will Roscoe notes, it includes specialized roles, gender variation, spiritual sanction as well as same-sex love. It is rooted in tribal tradition and is unavailable to people without tribal affiliations.
How do we understand gender? Instead ask, how do we understand the full breadth of nature and its mystery?
Despite the fact that these are two very different times and experiences, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in Germany and the Two Spirit people of North America, both used spirit and included more than 2 genders to express who they are.
Some people in Western culture ask if gender is necessary and can it be eliminated? But what we call gender is part of nature. Elimination rings of erasure. Nature is a vast dance that holds grand diversity, meaning and mystery beyond human comprehension.
How do we understand gender? Instead ask, how do we understand the full breadth of nature and its mystery?
Nature holds the energy that infuses matter with life. It is the power of growth and healing. It bursts forth and rises up and never ends. It is the mystery of death, birth and eternity, even infinity. Poetry, song and art have been the traditional tools to express the power of nature for time immemorial. It holds the mystery of love, attraction, family, community.
Only so much can be contained, dissected, examined before even nature flattens out and perishes under Western culture’s restrictive systems and binary gaze. Nature cannot ultimately be controlled, much like love. It is larger than us. We are a part of its great and powerful dance and what we call gender is integral.
What I know from my own experience is that gender is how spirit moves through matter, much like the life force or how a person’s unique personality animates their form. Gender enlivens the body, the same way spirit brings the body to life. It is as unique as someone’s personality, it is the dance of nature, it is mystery and love. Gender is not isolated. It is an expression that permeates every aspect of self, BODY, MIND, SPIRIT, HEART. Gender is self as spirit alive and part of the natural world. It moves through the whole self animating, dancing, reaching out to connect.
Mind: Pronouns – They, She, He, Me, We, Ze, Free.
Within the context of patriarchal oppression it is challenging to think or speak of gender without flattening it out, stripping the spirit, the mystery and profundity of the deeper value. Ideas of gender expand and deepen when seen within the context of the whole self. The real truth of gender is meant to begin within, where you can just BE, without the need to define and box yourself in. Alone, in your own mind, gender can be pronoun-free and perfectly nonbinary as “I, me, myself.”
Pronouns then become the way of extending your gender out into the world, beyond yourself. Again, the power is yours, sourced within your own knowing, your own BEing. Your knowing includes yourself and the world you’re navigating because pronouns can be used to bring your true self into greater focus, or maintain fluidity. They can also be used to maintain safety and privacy.
Pronouns are power.
Heart: Relationship – Partner, Family, Community/Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Heterosexual, Pansexual, Asexual.
Love is one of the foundations of life. It is vital. And in most ways, it is a mystery much like gender, best navigated by poetry, song and art. Expressions of mystery, emotion and depth.
Love is necessary and valuable. Can you explain why you love who you love? More importantly, why should you have to? Who can separate their heart, their love from their true self? In fact, who we love often makes sense out of who we are and vice versa.
Here again, LGBTQI2S+ people are so prevalent in nature, that our numbers signify we are not random aberrations, but instead our presence serves an important and necessary purpose within our species.
Unknown: room to expand and grow into our larger SELF.
It is nearly impossible to know what we don’t know or have forgotten, but leaving room to grow is a way to invite those parts of our self back into awareness.
But in order to fully understand queer/trans/intersex experience and presence, it is necessary to step outside of Western culture to explore systems and perspectives that center nature, indigenous thought, our whole selves, and our whole lives.
The separations that have developed between identities and experience of LGBTQIA+ people in Western culture over the last 120 years have been useful in acknowledging difference, unique contribution and the vast diversity in our community.
But in order to fully understand queer/trans/intersex experience and presence, it is necessary to step outside of Western culture to explore systems and perspectives that center nature, indigenous thought, our whole selves, and our whole lives. Doing this often shows more connections and interweaving between us as queer/trans/intersex people than Western culture has room for. More often than not, it is in having this larger perspective including knowing the past that we can more fully know ourselves in the present.
Look again at this image to see gender in relation to the Holistic Self.
Ironically, although I knew it was there, I only recently drew the singular Self in relation to gender. I did it in response to a parent activist I met whose work I wanted to support with an image. It wasn’t until I did this that I understood that my notions of gender have always been in relation to my whole community, every body together, connected, similar to a communal system. Perhaps because I am a queer femme or because I am Xicanx that I’ve always focused on the dance. It was through the dance of gender between people that I better understood my own gender and those fabulous queer/trans/intersex people in my community with whom I wanted to dance.
In my world, gender is rooted in love, community, connection, relationship. It is when we see ourselves together that we understand ourselves and each other more.
THE GENDER WHEEL
These four aspects of the self, BODY, GENDER, RELATIONSHIP and PRONOUN aren’t necessarily fixed. For many they are fluid, either all the time or for periods of time. In order to accommodate the holistic self and the infinite possible bodies, hearts, minds and spirits in combination and potentially in motion, I needed a symbol that was natural, dynamic, infinite and inclusive to portray gender in truth.
One organically rose from my heart.
I began developing The Gender Wheel and published its original incarnation in 2010 in The Gender Now Coloring Book, one of the first books to address transgender and intersex topics with kids. It conveyed how I saw the world around me and was rooted in my personal experience as a queer, femme, Xicanx artist/activist/parent having healed from the effects of profound homophobia in my family of origin. I initially created it for my then 5 year old child, Zai to share about the people in our community. I was committed to passing on a queer/trans/intersex-centric perspective in my family rooted in mamiearth.
The Gender Wheel rose from:
- Cultural significance – infinity, eternity, calendars – Mayan and Aztec
- Nature – shapes and patterns of growth, my Mexican American father conveyed a deep love of nature and respect for the cycles of life and death
- Circles/Concentric/Movement/inclusive, nonlinear – holds infinite positions around its circumference and moves forward and backward
The Gender Wheel includes 4 concentric circles:
- The first 3 circles are the SELF: Body, Inside or Gender, Pronouns
- and the 4th circle is the SELF in Relationship
In the beginning, The Wheel had 3 circles and primarily focused on Body and Inside or Gender. When first published in The Gender Now Coloring/Activity Books, my intention was to exponentially expand ideas about bodies and gender and begin blowing the binary apart. For reference and confirmation, The Wheel is then seen in context with nature, global cultures and history to see how it rolls and understand its reach.
The center circle meant to designate self later became the Pronoun Circle.
The 4th circle, Relationship, is COMING OUT this year along with The Rainbow Alphabet, a book for young ones about LGBTQIA2S+.
All circles hold infinite potential. Familiar markers are placed around each circle to show connection and flow, but words are in constant flux and the truth is WE NEED A LOT MORE WORDS to truthfully express who we are. Because the binary is so deeply embedded and because I’m focused on kids, I use the dominant boy and girl in our culture and try to play, rearrange, reconnect, expand and steadily dismantle them to support new ways of thinking about old patterns. Beyond 2 boxes or a spectrum with two ends, The Wheel is a place to find yourself, see your community and know you belong in the circle.
Body circle includes familiar markers of: intersex girl, cisgender girl, transgender boy, intersex boy, cisgender boy, transgender girl with infinite room in between for more!
Inside circle includes many identities and inside feelings: kid, androgynous, agender, femme boy, femme girl, butch boy, part time boy/part time girl, gender fluid and more and more…
Pronoun circle includes familiar ones and space for more to grow into: They, She, He, Me, Ze, and Tree.
Tree is to affirm that we need more words that reflect the deeper meaning of who we are as queer/trans/intersex people! Especially ones connected to nature. Language is OURS! We must move beyond the binary in how we speak.
Relationship circle (the 4th outer circle currently shown faded) will be explored more with The Rainbow Alphabet and will include familiar markers: Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Asexual, Heterosexual and more…
All of the circles turn forward and backward opening up infinite possibilities along their curve and between the circles making room for every body to be exactly who they are.
Download and make your own wheel!
Again, for the Holistic Self to be complete, it must also be placed in CONTEXT. In this case, that would be the Holistic perspective of gender including nature, global cultural awareness, indigenous history and the history of your country, along with family, community, society, history and ancestry.
IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT…
Take the time to try this on. Imagine for a moment, not a new world, because this has always been our world, but a true world! Imagine shamelessly prancing or rolling through a world that truthfully adores you. Imagine a place where you don’t have to say anything about the fabulousness of queer/trans/intersex people. It is what it is. Known by all. Taught to the small. Permeating every teeny tiny facet of society and culture.
The Gender Wheel turns for EVERY BODY and EVERY BODY belongs!
Movies, school, books, art, conversations, fashion, healing practices, medical care, travel, documentation, history, every single thing imaginable would change to respectfully, even joyously include queer/trans/intersex people and experience. Imagine that!
Don’t stop. Keep imagining. A true world.
WHAT IS COMMONLY TAUGHT AND THOUGHT
In line with patriarchal Western thinking, people are generally taught and believe that there are two kinds of bodies, male and female.
A male body is a man’s body and is romantically attracted to females,
And a female body is a woman’s body and is romantically attracted to males.
Historically, anything outside of these parameters do not meet Western standards of gender and sexuality and have been considered aberrant, illegal and pathological at different times. Numerous methods have been used to control this aspect of people including aversion therapy.
Over the last 120 years, Western culture developed more and more stark divisions within the self and between people, often rooted in controlling different aspects of society considered undesirable. These perspectives expose the racism, anti-Semitism, homo/transphobia, disability discrimination and misogyny at work in areas considered ‘science’. One example of how this plays out is when the mind is perceived as separate from the body, action can be taken to ‘cure’ the mind if a person fails the M-F test and return them to a healthy functioning member of society.
“Lewis Terman was a leading figure in the California eugenics movement who invented and popularized the Stanford-Binet intelligence test, a tool used to assess “feeblemindedness” and identify young people for forced sterilization. Terman also developed the “M-F” test, which was used – and to some extent is still used – to predict homosexuality and gender diversity in youth and young adults, and to channel them into so-called reparative therapies to prevent the further development of diverse genders and sexualities. Here, we can see that the impulse to draw clear lines around racial groupings is intimately linked to the desire to have clear lines between male/female, even as standards for men and woman are often in flux, changing across time and place. Many advocates for transgender youth – including transgender adults – feel pressure to justify challenging and controversial decisions, often relying on research that reproduces a certain logic known to harm the very interests of people they seek to support.”
– Mauro Sifuentes, Genetics, Gender Identity, and Youth Transitions
“Although recognition and classification of gender nonconformity appeared in Western medicine in the 1920s, gender identity disorder (GID) first appeared as a distinct diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980 and remained a category until the newest edition of the DSM (the DSM-5). Over the past few decades, after professional as well as public debates, the APA has moved toward differentiating gender nonconformity from mental illness. On December 1, 2012, the board of the APA approved changing the diagnosis of GID to that of gender dysphoria in the DSM-5, a significant move toward depathologizing gender variance. Psychiatrists increasingly agree that being transgender is not an illness to be cured or overcome (nor, for that matter, a state that can be altered).””
– Daphna Stroumsa, MD, MPH, The State of Transgender Health Care: Policy, Law, and Medical Frameworks
“The United Nations Human Rights Council, in a defining vote, adopted a resolution on June 30, 2016, on “Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity,” to mandate the appointment of an independent expert on the subject. It is a historic victory for the human rights of anyone at risk of discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, a coalition of human rights groups said today. This resolution builds upon two previous resolutions, adopted by the Council in 2011 and 2014.”
– UN Makes History on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
Voting in favor of the resolution
Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam
Voting against the resolution
Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Togo, United Arab Emirates
Abstaining on the resolution
Botswana, Ghana, India, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa
Change is occurring, but deep cultural and societal shifts like this tend to take time to reach everyone. It is profoundly challenging to see through and step away from Western perspectives. They are large and all pervasive at this time. They can even seem invisible. But the truth is the false gender binary, oppositional thinking, suppressed history and scholarship, integral homo/transphobia and racism, all contribute to cultural and societal pressure on everyone all the time to conform, judge, internalize and survive. We end up policing ourselves, and each other. We create multiple layers of interlocking survival behaviors between us, instead of everyone just being exactly who they are.
Bullying queer/trans/intersex kids is about scapegoating rooted in deep, historical, cultural shifts in society.
Bullying queer/trans/intersex kids is about scapegoating rooted in deep, historical, cultural shifts in society. But it can also include unconsciously trying to get others to snap back into ‘right behavior’ out of concern for safety. I imagine my mother and her unbalanced response to hearing that I was a lesbian, (how I identified at the time). Riddled with horrible memories of what it meant to be a lesbian from her childhood, she screamed at me for an entire year about how horrible all this and I was and how everyone was going to suffer for it, before stopping talking to me altogether for many years. It was more than she could bear. There was nothing I could do. I could not stop being myself.
What can erase a heart like that? What can cause that much confusion and pain? It’s more than ignorance. It’s a deep, deep judgment. It smacks of survival.
Conformity is highly prized in our culture. Sacrifice. Repression. Doing the ‘right thing’ even when it’s not who you really are. Remember back to Colonel Manly from the first American written play we learned about from the early US History part? There was a need to create specific stereotypes in the face of colonization, slavery and war.
Not surprisingly, today, many, many decades later, there are many stories, an obsession perhaps with media that portrays the hero who goes against social convention and wins big for following their own heart. But it’s mostly just a story. Like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. In real life, this kind of thinking can serve as a mirage for marginalized communities. Competitive. Dog eat dog. Individualistic. Power over. At any cost. These are valued and seen as part of what it takes to succeed in Western society.
On LGBTQI2S+ Community:
The tools and degree of scapegoating of our community shift and adjust with the times, but essentially anything and everything is used to judge, erase and or police all genders and sexuality that fall outside of patriarchal parameters, which for the LGBTQI2S+ community is ALL OF US. Many queer/trans/intersex people visibly and or socially pass as straight and cisgender to varying degrees at different times, sometimes for safety and survival reasons. But that means anyone who is visibly queer/trans/intersex in appearance or behavior is at greater risk for being singled out.
Policing gender happens in the LGBTQI2S+ community. Safety can be a visceral, unconscious response for many of us if violence has occurred socially or in the home, especially around gender and sexuality. This can severely alter self and expression from the inside out.
In 2005 a group of 4 people created a graphic that eventually morphed into the Gender Bread Person. In order to break down stereotypes and help understand sex assigned at birth, behavior, sexual orientation and gender identity, they used visuals and familiar concepts that separate parts of the self.
In 2011, a straight, white cisman plagiarized the Gender Bread model and claimed ownership.
It was later translated into the Gender Unicorn by a group of trans activists. This model made some basic changes, but kept the overall format: sex assigned at birth, gender expression, gender identity, and physically/emotionally attracted to. These models isolate areas in order to see them independently. Unhinging them from one another helps to dismantle assumptions that bind stereotypes together.
BACK TO THE TRUTH and PRACTICAL, DAILY APPLICATION
Every step counts. The more we hear from queer/trans/intersex people and experience, the more we embrace our unique power and wisdom, the better!
This was an enormous journey. As BIG and GORGEOUS as all of nature and all of the world! As GORGEOUS as all of us! Queer/trans/intersex!
Coming back to the Gender Wheel, what do we know?
There is a long, significant history as to why there is gender oppression related to the development of the patriarchy. It is not just the way things are. It was created and is maintained on purpose, often unexamined and unconscious, contributing to a deep implicit bias in Western culture.
We know there is a long, significant history as to why there is gender oppression related to the development of the patriarchy. It is not just the way things are. It was created and is maintained on purpose, often unexamined and unconscious, contributing to a deep implicit bias in Western culture that marginalizes our community alongside indigenous and communities of color.
We know there are a minimum of 6 kinds of bodies and that queer/trans/intersex people and experience are everywhere all the time. We also know a little bit about binary thinking and why it developed, and are beginning to understand that noticing compulsory polarized thinking like girl and boy, even black and white are important steps. We’re coming into more holistic thinking as one way to include us and break down ways of thinking, speaking and being that are binary. We’re coming back into the circle.
Some more truth: the majority of children are naturally gender fluid until 4-5 years old; gender is natural and cannot be eliminated; the kind of body a person has does not determine their gender; gender does not determine a person’s sexual orientation; communicating about one’s gender is a social construct—gender is not; gender is as unique as personality.
Use the Gender Wheel and play with the first 3 circles: take the time to download the Wheel and explore the breadth of nature and reality. Find yourself, find your friends and family, but go beyond your own life. Feel the extent of your community throughout time, across the globe! See if you can find people in movies and books, people from history. Where does Publick Universal Friend land on the Wheel? Or Albert Cashier? What about We’ Wha? What about Two Spirit people? Every body can be understood more fully through seeing the Self in Context, but some people can only be understood in context. Two Spirit, Hijra, Muxe to name a few, who else?
Experiment with how much you can know and find on the Wheel. There are no limits to infinity.
The fourth circle will be coming this year for even more play!
So much wisdom, so much truth lies within our queer/trans/intersex community, within our bodies, within our hearts and minds. So much wisdom lies within our spirits! Scholars, activists, educators, parents, midwives and doulas, health practioners, healers, therapists, counselors, librarians, artists, philosophers, politicians, journalists, authors, linguists, film makers, illustrators and more…all sharing, creating, transforming our world through who we are.
The Wheel turns.
Here are 4 areas where you can put truth to action:
- 1. Think differently. Queer/trans/intersex oppression is directly connected to race and ethnic oppression. Both are rooted in the development and perpetuation of Western culture’s patriarchy. Within a system like this, to do wholly effective work to erase homo/transphobia it must be rooted in anti-racist work and coalition building with IPOC communities, as well as stepping away from Western ways of thinking about gender, sexuality and nature. This is a different legacy we want to pass on–to each other, our kids and families and the next generations. Truth. Equity. Belonging. It already exists. We are waking up to the truth of it and making it known.
- That’s why the cover of The Gender Wheel is similar to my other book, When a Bully Is President. They’re connected. Race and ethnicity, and queer/trans/intersex people are all oppressed in the similar ways for the similar reasons.
- I created When a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times the day after the 2016 election in response to the stories I was hearing from teachers across the country about how stressed out kids were. We had it published and in-hand by Feb 2017. I never mention #45 in the book because it’s not about him. It’s about the larger system and what stories aren’t being told and how it’s all contributing to what communities are being bullied, specifically related to race and ethnicity, but including people with disabilities, women and girls, the LGBTQIA2S+ community and more. I’ll be honest, I was deeply concerned that kids were internalizing the horrible propaganda I was hearing targeted at our IPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ communities and wanted to step in with some context. The Gender Wheel came out the same year.
- Free Resources: When a Bully is President Reading Guide & Worksheets
- 2. Speak truth. Break down the binary. Every single step to include a minimum of 6 body types and expand pronouns to include more than two is fabulously valuable. These are two areas where you can literally change yourself and change the world.
- If you want to create change, then it’s all about consistency, especially if you have kids or work with kids. Because the truth is, if every single minute of every single day you spoke inclusively about genders and pronouns to your kid, you would still only be a small dent in the barrage of messages they were receiving.
- Even kids who can be considered cisgender are jammed up by gender messages. Any serious, and playful acknowledgment of gender diversity provides a rest from the constant need to perform as a boy or a girl for all kids.
- Here are two resources. The worksheet includes tools that I use every day and developed from being a parent. Also, having visual reference up like a poster helps keep the conversation open, can help kids understand on multiple levels, and shows that this is not something to be hidden.
- 3. Interrupt falsehoods. SCHOOLS and LIBRARIES. There are four major areas where change can begin. Choosing any one of them and taking any action would make a profound difference and because they are all connected, ultimately lead to all the other areas. My tactic in my activism and education is to focus on truth and that which cannot be denied.
- Multidisciplinary UPDATE for educational materials to include queer/trans/intersex people and experience-Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Health and more
- Curriculum Development Worksheet: 2 page worksheet to assist in developing lesson plans that are gender inclusive. The goal here is not to teach about gender but instead to bring gender expansive awareness into everyday lessons. Examples of a potential lesson ideas are provided on worksheet
- Develop Critical and Holistic Thinking and Limit Oppositional Thinking-for example for young ones, don’t accentuate learning opposites, explore more circular ways of learning
- Suppressed History-it is possible and valuable to include queer/trans/intersex people at every step of history in every direction
- Implicit Bias-Western culture and the patriarchy are deep-being aware of heterosexual, cisgender and white bias help bring more subtle, but deeply effective forms of oppression into awareness
- 4. Educate toward truth/children’s books and adult resources.
- Worksheet: Vetting LGBTQI Children’s Books with Love (4 pages, 580KB)
- *an important tool to begin looking at children’s books, (especially nonfiction gender books & workbooks for the young), that support LGBTQI2S+ kids, families, educators and librarians in choosing books that support our community from the inside OUT, taking into consideration truth, power dynamics, suppressed history and first or own voice
- Trans Allyship Workbook: Building Skills to Support Trans People in our Lives
- My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity
- The Resilience Anthology
- Societies of Peace: Matriarchies past, present and future
- Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation
Thank you for everything and anything you do and are in support of gender expansion. Blessings OUT to all my queer/trans/intersex family and friends. We are the revolution. We are the magic. We are the truth that will never stop rising up and OUT! May we dance and dance and never stop!
Now we close this circle to dance another day.
Join me in prayer.
I call my power in from the East and the West
I call my power in from the North and the South
I send my love up into the Sky
And I send my love down into Mamiearth
I am here in this perfect center
In this perfect moment
Where I belong
a part of the circle
I am Love
Maya Gonzalez is a ferociously quirky queer femme with a deep love for daily drag and dress up. She’s also an artist, progressive educator and award-winning children’s book illustrator and author. She has been a close ally of the trans community for over 30 years and her partner is trans. Her work focuses on art and story as powerful tools of reclamation and transformation both personally and culturally. Currently her primary tool of activism is creating and publishing radical children’s books that tell the truth of who we are and what we can be. She invites grown-ups and kids alike to do the same through her online school and free kids program that teach a holistic approach to creating and publishing children’s books.