“What do you want to be when you grow up?” , “If you could change something in your life or in the world, what would it be?”.
These are two of the many questions asked to nine years old children over four continents, from Brazil to China, from Kenya to Canada, from India to the United States. The report, published in 2017 by the National Geographic, focuses its special issue on the Gender Revolution and what it means for children and for their growth in today’s society.
Defining exactly gender-identity, as a person’s deep-seated, internal sense of who they are as a gendered being (the gender with which they identify themselves) and sexual orientation, as a person’s feelings or attraction toward other people ( a person might be attracted to people of the same sex, of the opposite sex, of both sexes, or without reference to sex or gender), National Geographic explains in details the scientific reasoning behind sex chromosomes and biological sex, and I believe interesting dialogues and debates worldwide can start from our homes and our workplaces to deepen the gender identity and gender expression topics.
In a nutshell, who you feel you are (gender identity) and how you express it (gender expression).
When addressing the gender identity, guidance from parents should step in a child’s growth. Studies from HealthChildren.org suggest that parents need to give the opportunity to their children to explore different gender roles and styles of play, as, as some children grow, the identity is not so clear-cut. A mix of both biological and social aspects can determine how the child will identify himself/herself later in life, but there is no way of predicting. What the experts say tough, is that it is important for parents to make their home a place where their child feels safe, loved unconditionally, and accepted for who they are. In addition, the most important role as a parent is to offer understanding, respect and support to the child. A nonjudgmental approach will gain the child’s trust and put the parent in the best position to help the child through difficult times.
In terms of gender expression, people express themselves through clothing, behavior, language and other outward signs. Whether these attributes are labeled masculine or feminine, it varies among cultures. In this context, sexual orientation ( whom we are attracted to) plays also a role in our relationship with other people, in how we see ourselves, how we see other people, and how we imagine interactions with other human beings.
I think it is a fascinating science, especially since nowadays we are exposed to many different cultures, religions, world travelers and international professionals and experts willing to make a difference in the world, and therefore, moving to many parts of the globe to speak about different issues.
What I found the best ingredient for a wonderful life experience is to believe in yourself first, do not be afraid of saying and showing who you really are, to show your feelings, to always keep the ability to question, to discuss, to ask questions, to trust, to care and to respect other people, no matter their views, which can be different from yours. Beauty in Diversity, as we can say, because diversity brings progress, innovation, news ideas, rethinking, open-mindedness, learnings and...definitely an exciting life to live!
Respect, Trust, Care, Equal opportunities and rights bring us to Gender Equality, where men and women treat each other equally and support one another in the life ride.
Trust your inner Voice.