GENDER EDUCATION IN A BOX!
Want to make your campus, business, library, or school a little bit safer for gender minorities? The creators of the GENDER book have compiled some resources for you to spread the word to your small group or classroom. Totally free.
Please take a moment to tell us all about how you’re using them (we’d love to see our posters in your campus resource center, or our postcards on your resource table!) If these art and education tools have been useful, please consider donating to support our project and let us continue our work. Or, buy a hardback book to complete your resource set.
- GENDER 101 Prezi presentation with images from the GENDER book
- Print-ready copy of the GENDER booklet and instructions for DIY printing.
- Postcards to leave out and show your support and spread the word
- Business cards for networking and activism
- 5 Gorgeous full-color educational posters to hang in your space. They may be printed up to 3 feet across with no loss in quality!
Ready? Go download your stuff and make some waves!
In case you wanted to meet the real-life Koomah from the GENDER book!
(gorgeous photo and poem snippet from definetransition.tumblr.com, Boston’s newest project. Check it out!)
I got an interesting question in an email yesterday. Here’s what it said:
Here is my question for you. Thank you for any reply you can give:
I saw that you were an author on The Gender Book
and I was hoping you could answer a question for me. Someone showed me a page before, an excerpt reads: “Can you find it [a person’s gender] by looking at their brain? I did some research, and I found that all brains work about the same, no matter the sex.” But according to a peer-reviewed scientific journal there are differences in the way brain’s work between genders, so each gender does have a unique brain structure: http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/08/29/cercor.bhr230.full
Did you miss this article? If not, what was your reason for excluding it?
Thank you, Fox
First, the majority of the book was researched in 2009 and written in 2010, and that article came out in 2011, so there’s not really a way we could have used it (yes, it takes that long to draw and color a book like this!)
I drew/conceived of that page originally to talk about articles like these:
- Transsexual Differences Caught on Brain Scan retrieved from http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20032-transsexual-differences-caught-on-brain-scan.html
- Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus. Kruijver et al. 85 (5): 2034. May 2000 from http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/85/5/2034.full?ref=hanzuo.com
- Fine, Cordelia. Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference. New York: 2010.
They are super interesting & provide some clues that certain brain structures are linked to gender identity (rather than the sex-assigned-at-birth). We eventually decided to downplay these results because the findings are so minor, and only structural. Plus, we realized it might make a sort of false “cred” to trans-folks who have those structural elements, that might make other trans* folks feel less legitimate. Our whole book’s premise is that your biology doesn’t define you, how you see you defines you, so it was important to stay aligned with that.
Anyway, these minor differences; they don’t seem to influence *how* the brain works at all. Plus, trying to talk about neurology in terms an 8-year-old could understand seems incredibly daunting. Finally, we were mostly struck by just *how much* science still doesn’t know about how the brain works, and didn’t want to say anything prematurely. We’d rather bring up questions that are timeless and let folks gather their own evidence, as you have (hurray).
We were definitely trying to stay away from the studies that show male-assigned-at-birth folks are different from female-assigned-at-birth folks (like your article linked, thanks for sharing!) because we don’t want people to get the wrong idea that there are “female” brains and “male” brains. Really, for most intents and purposes, they act just the same.
Here are some previous versions of the page’s text, which might be enlightening:
Think about it like a computer- you can’t tell what’s inside or how fast it is just by looking at the color, size, or shape of the box.
Gender is the data, you can only get that by plugging it in and interacting with it.
Some parts may be different sizes or shapes and these can correlate to your sex marker or gender identity, but all brains work the same way
-your gender lives in your brain, but is not dictated by it
-history of brains and sex
we might think that there is such a thing as a “girl” brain or a “boy” brain, but the truth is, though they may be different sizes, they seem to be able to do the same amazing things.
Maybe you’ve heard boys are better at math and science, while girls are better at writing and art. But as much as scientists look for biological reasons for this, we just don’t have good evidence that their brain structures are the reason. It seems just as likely that the social expectations and training from youth makes this modest impact.
It seems that the shape of a structure in the white matter of one’s brain depends on that person’s gender identity, rather than on that person’s sex (5). The number of neurons in a limbic nucleus in our brains also seems to be effected by our gender identity (6).
More research is needed, but these studies do show just show deeply our identity may influence (or be influenced) by our neurology. For some folks, it’s scary to think that gender might be biologically influenced. For others, it’s scary to think that our biology might be influenced by our gender identiy.
Yes, we really do think this much about every page. And I’m sure if you asked the other creators, they would each have a slightly different answer for you. The final text is always the work of many voices, some disagreement, and some compromise. But hey, for what it’s worth, I still stand by what I said: XX brains and XY brains work pretty much the same, some lateralization of brain connectivity be damned. :)
Hope this helps clear this up, and thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to use that ask box if you have more questions.
Just got the first ever copy of the GENDER book back from the printer, and it’s all thanks to the amazing creatures who helped fund it. My baby is a real book now. In book-shaped binding and everything!
It’s beautiful, ya’ll.
It’s just a proof, but the rest are on the way! Just have to do some color corrections first. :)
(from the GENDER book)
A little primer on gender-neutral pronouns. DId you know shakespeare used the singular they? I do, too! That’s me, up top, with the ripped jeans.
-mel, the artist
I absolutely love this. I wish this were taught in grade schools just like *regular* geography. It would make a great, colorful, interactive children’s book.
Imagine gender as a planet.
All people grow up somewhere on that planet, most in Ladyland or in Manlandia. Lots of people are comfortable where they’re born and stay in that same area their whole lives. Some people, though, are citizens of Manlandia but are born in Ladyland. Just like in the real world, you can’t tell someone’s citizenship by looking at them, it’s very personal. As we get older we may want to move to a place where we are more comfortable.
cisgender If you’re most comfortable in the gender you were assumed at birth, that’s called cisgender.
transgender Anyone who lives outside their expected gender land, crossing state lines, so to speak, could be said to be transgender.
There’s a lot more to explore in there, be sure to check out the high-res and zoom about. Everything quoted and attributed is an actual survey response from our ongoing research.
Enjoy and please share any comments/critiques here in the comments (it’s less likely we’ll find it on your own blog, though please do share it there also).
PS- just in case you were not aware, this is part of a 70-page book on gender called, simply, the GENDER book
. It is made by a couple of queers in Texas with a lot of help from a big, beautiful community. So try to be kind.
Check this out, y’all! My first significant other was one of the co-creators for this fantastic visual metaphor (and the GENDER book in which it can be found)! As a native citizen of Ladyland, I’ve had the privilege of not having to explain my gender to others - but this has not been the case for many of the people in my life! I’ve got a lot left to learn, which is why I’m SO excited for the GENDER book.
my comments upon first seeing this:
“Also I like this model because it allows for fluidity or non-fluidity”
“Like, I live near butch bay, and occasionally vacation to gender diverse island”
“And I am learning (slowly) to peek into the girly grasslands, from whence come many/most of my favorite people”
so, yes. I found this model very useful.
Funny you should say that; it *is* a great children’s book (and thank you for the compliment).
Read the full thing online here: www.thegenderbook.com. There are about 90 more pages for you to discover like it.
Love love cute androgynous creatures. Especially the fuzzy kind.
I also take comfort in some anthropological study from my own unique vantage point upon the system from outside of it, as a way to cope with the glacial pace of social change. Though hey, with climate change (and the cool free tools for gender education out there), maybe both will accelerate.
GENDER for the rest of us, in ten easy steps
1. Examine your current assumptions.
2. Seriously. They’re not the same thing.
4. So what is gender, then?
5. It’s not just these…
6. In fact, there’s a whole world of gender out there to explore.
7. Where each person has their own words that feel best.
8. Let’s learn a new way to be considerate
9. Try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
10. And never stop learning.
Hi! Will we eventually have future opportunities to book you guys for presentations in our schools? Our GSA didn't have enough money to purchase it during your December pre-order (and we're still pretty broke, heehee.) Pardon if this has been asked.
We’d love to come talk to your group! Did you know:
- I’m a retired public high school art teacher
- I started the GSA at my school during my high school days, and
- All the creators are skilled public speakers!
Ya’ll can contact us at email@example.com to book speaking, either with travel (more expensive) or over skype (cheaper!) Special bonus points if you happen to be in the Bay area (California) or Houston-area (Texas), where the creators are living. :)
We’re happy to work with you on rates, we just want to make sure this info gets out into the world.
Thanks for all the great work you’re doing & I hope to hear from you!