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Curiosity and gender norms

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

My husband was talking last night about how my family is very curious. But that our curiosity leads to higher intelligence or perhaps that intelligence makes us more curious? It was a comment about my mom looking into an artist who was of Jamaican-Chinese descent, who worked on Hair Love, a short film that was up for an Oscar. He thought it was interesting that she was suddenly curious and looking up storyboard artists because he is a storyboard artist.

Anyway, I was thinking about my own curiosity. I have trained in aerial circus arts on and off for years. I follow a circus page for a local studio in Toronto that shared an article written by one of their students. I have only trained a few times there, but I have seen the student-writer working on the aerial straps and some trapeze work. As an aerialist, you will know that the aerial straps are the most challenging in the amount of pure strength that you need. The article got me thinking about another conversation my husband and I had about raising children as non-binary gender. We aren’t pregnant yet, but we like to think about what we would do with our child if and when it happens. Modern societies are progressive societies. With larger city centres come higher cultural diversity. The curiosity in me pushes me to ask questions. Sometimes people don’t like the questions that I ask, but I’m not asking to be rude, I’m asking so that I can increase my knowledge.

In Canada, pet owners come from all walks of life, the rich and the poor, those with different cultural views of what a dog or cat is, straight/cis/trans, single, married, divorced, widowed, those who speak English only and those with English as a second language. Because I love to educate, I try to meet people somewhere between the science from my background and their personal experiences. Science is also always changing. There is always new research, new developments occurring. How we approached veterinary medicine 20 years ago is not the same as it is today. This brings me to a quote from a veterinary dental specialist, when the winds are changing, you can tie yourself to a tree, or you can build yourself a kite. He said it in the terms of our growing knowledge, that every dental extraction requires a pre and post-op x-ray. This is different than 20 years ago. Basically, let's build ourselves a stellar kite!

So too are societal norms and gender identification changing. I grew up a girl, not really a girly-girl, but identifying as female. We like to put things and people into categories, so some things apply to some, but not others. This exclusivity is across the board, in every country, and in every culture. You belong or you do not belong to a particular group. Progressiveness also means inclusivity. Changing our mindsets in gender equality is no longer just about making sure that women have the right to vote, the right to equal pay for equal work, or the right to get the job as the most qualified applicant. It’s now about ensuring that gender identification is not manipulating our decisions on equality, in the workplace or other. Do I think that a biological male is going to inherently have more testosterone and therefore have more muscle and be stronger and faster than the biological female? Absolutely! That does not mean that when people, cis or trans, walk through life that they should be treated with disrespect. So the question is that with an ever-changing finish line, with no right or wrong answer, how can you raise a child who isn’t pressured into gender norms so that they don’t have to take 40 years to feel comfortable being themselves?

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