I’ve got a webinar coming up on January 12 about talking to your “opposite sex” kiddo about the birds and the bees. I know this can be a stumbling block for some folks, so I figured I’d address it head on.
I got this email from a parent in response:
I just had a comment/suggestion. Saying “opposite sex” reinforces the gender binary, which can be harmful to youth who don’t identify that way. Kids who are gender queer or are on the LGBTQ spectrum have a higher incidence of suicide and it’s important for parents to practice inclusive language.
“Opposite sex” also reinforces gender roles which can also keep people in a constrictive box. Just something to think about. Being inclusive take more effort, but people really appreciate it. My teens remind me often not to say things like, “hey guys!” Anyway, thanks for the work you do, and I hope this unsolicited advice isn’t offensive.
I love this and I think she’s right on all fronts: we need to be careful about the language we use since not everyone identifies with one gender; reinforcement of our stupid fucking gender roles; and “being inclusive takes more effort.”
One thing I already do in the “reduce gender roles” department is this: when I meet and greet a woman or girl I do NOT complement them on how they look or what they are wearing. I find another, non-objectifying way to connect with them. I’m successful at this about 95% of the time.
How about you? What baby step can you take?