How many times have you heard, “blue is for boys, pink is for girls”? Or that “dolls are for girls and trucks are for boys?”
Even though many of us are accustomed to hearing about gender being as simple and as clear cut as girl or boy, sex and gender are complex concepts.
For some young people, it can be frustrating when others make assumptions about how they should act, what they should wear and what they should play with based on their gender.
Pressure to behave a certain way can come from friends, classmates, family, teachers, coaches, TV shows and movies.
But, there are lots of different ways young people can express who they are.
To help kids learn more about gender, Kids Help Phone created Gender-Bread World, a new online tool that educates users about gender identity and can break down stereotypes by challenging thoughts, ideas, and feelings about gender. The interactive game also helps to differentiate gender identity, biological sex, gender expression and attraction, and how all the aspects exist on a spectrum, including:
- Gender identity refers to how you feel inside and think of yourself in terms of gender. Whether you think of yourself as a girl, a boy, or someone outside of gender altogether.
- Biological sex or a person’s biology. You may consider yourself female, male, intersex or somewhere in between.
- Gender expression is how you show or express your gender on the outside. For example, the types of clothes you wear, your hairstyle, and the types of activities you do or the sports you play.
- Attraction refers to who you are attracted to. For example, people of the other sex, people of the same sex, both or neither.
It’s important for young people to feel supported in exploring themselves. The goal of Gender-Bread World is to educate users on the complexity of gender identity, providing them with an explorative and creative way to learn more about this topic and themselves.
Above is an example of the different aspects an individual can use to express themselves in Gender-Bread World.
There are a lot of attributes that contribute to each of our identities at all ages, which is why it’s important for young people to feel supported no matter what. And for young people who have questions about gender identity but aren’t sure where to turn, Kids Help Phone counsellors are always there: 1-800-668-6868 or www.kidshelpphone.ca.