Growing up in the 2000’s my childhood was a montage of Barbie, My Little Pony, Baby Born, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel. I had all things pink and one could say I embodied the archetype of a girly girl. Naturally, playing dress-up was a habit on mine and coming to terms with my femininity was a breeze. Unaware that one’s biological sex does not always correlate to one’s gender, I’d often remind my peers of the gender binary.
Having completed a Gender Studies course at the University of Cape Town, my preconceived notion of gender is one of the past. Not being the first one to learn about transgender and cisgender, I found that the discourses mainly seek to address the rights and the struggles of teenagers, adults and young adults. To some degree, children are left out of the discussion due to ‘lacking’ intellect and the assumption that they will ‘grow out of it’ (whatever ‘it’ means). Trans children are seen as a modern day myth and a belief that is frowned upon, or so it seemed.
Primary school institutions are developing proactive approaches to ensure a positive environment for transgender children. Schools are becoming more aware of the challenges trans children are facing due to bullying, rejection and isolation. Academics and activists encourage schools to change polices that reinforce prejudice and naturalize gender bias.