“I think you’re both genders…”

“I think you’re both genders…”

I’m surrounded by family, gathered in Mum and Dad’s lounge room to view my photos from Thailand to San Francisco. We get to the launch of The Gender Book which I attended at the Center for Sex & Culture, a library large enough to have those cool sliding ladders along the bookshelves and the largest edition of Tom of Finland I’ve ever seen! I joined a table where we each coloured in a world map of all genders from the book. My map and I won a brand new edition of the book to take home. Naturally, the four kids in my family have questions. How did I win? What’s the book about? Go back one, I want to study the map, really study it… What’s gender mean?

The Gender book is about fostering greater understanding of gender in all persons. My audience is wide eyed and ages 4-8 in the front row at Mum and Dad’s and so I start the conversation off with, ‘Well, you know how some people are boys and some people are girls, some people are both genders -‘

My 8 year old nephew interjects, ‘I think you’re both genders.’ I look at him for a brief second, about to explain myself, to say something from my point of view. In a heartbeat, I realise I don’t need to justify or explain anything. The sheer innocence, curiosity, wonder and awe emanating from his face is enough for me to respond with a heartfelt, ‘Thank you.

My sister continues the conversation thoughtfully explaining terms like cis meaning people who match the body they were born into and trans meaning people who are born into one body but are not that. Here my brother in law adds in, ‘I work with a lady who used to be a man. She’s lovely.’ I watch the kids faces as they listen intently. It makes sense. Soon they’re ready for the next lot of photos, something about horse riding down at Big Sur.

If the Gender book exists to extinguish oppression and create safe spaces for gender diverse people and their allies through education, then person by person, family by family, we are fulfilling on that.