Yesterday was the third Little Justice Leaders gathering on Zoom. We had a great discussion about Gender Identity, co-facilitated by UUJAZ Executive Director Janine Gelsinger and her fourth-grade daughter, Vivienne.
There were three main discussion questions:
1) What are some expectations you've heard about gender? (Examples: girls like pink, boys are good at sports, etc.) How do you relate, or not, to those expectations? The kiddos had a lot of examples of these.
2) We watched a video from Janine's friend and fellow UU, Alex Kapitan, that ze wrote, called The Story of Bat. The group really liked this video, and the kiddos had lots to say about animals and diversity in the animal kingdom, including about animals who are able to change genders or switch gender roles.
If you want to watch this video with your kiddos, click here.
3) We discussed gender diversity: how sometimes humans like to put things in boxes (binaries) and say that everything is this or that, girls or boys, mammals or birds. But that really, there are animals and people who are both, neither, something totally different, or who don't relate to gender at all. All the kids in attendance said they had already had conversations with parents about transgender identity, way to go parents :)
3) The last part of our discussion was, how can we, as UUs, put our values into action to affirm the diversity of gender? The kiddos came up with four things:
*Use the names and pronouns that people want to be called
*Stand up to bullies when someone is being teased or hurt
*Don't make assumptions about people's gender based on their appearance (long hair, short hair, painted nails, etc.)
*Don't divide people into groups based on gender, for instance "boys sing this verse, girls sing this verse" or "men's group meets on Tuesdays and Ladies group meets on Sundays."
If you want to learn more about gender, gender identities, and being welcoming and affirming to the full breadth of gender, you can check out the course from Transforming Hearts Collective. Alex from the Story of Bat video is one of the facilitators of that course, and it's really wonderful.
UUJAZ purchased this course in 2019 for all the UU congregations in Arizona. If you'd like to take the online course on your own, browse through it, or get a group together at your congregation and take it together, contact Janine for login codes for free access.