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Gender identity is not a discussion for pre-schoolers

NONBINARY: Writer, journalist and activist Jack Monroe does not identify solely as a man or woman

'NON-BINARY' refers to any gender that is not exclusively male or female. So how many genders do we have?

The definition non-binary applies to a person who does not identify as 'male' or 'female'. 'Genderqueer', also termed 'nonbinary', is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. This leaves me saying, 'wow'!

If you’re feeling confused, don’t worry, I am too. But stay with me... Some other common non-binary gender identities include: 'agender', 'bigender', 'genderfluid', 'androgyne' and 'neutrois'. So what we seem to have is even more genders to choose from under the 'nonbinary' label.

The current gender identification terminology is vast; who would have thought it? I only grew-up knowing the main two male and female, which tells you how much has changed (the fact that I have to even call them 'the main two' as opposed to the only two.

Why are we exploring the whole gender spectrum? Is it for a minority with big voices?

'Non-binary' is an umbrella term used to describe people who do not feel male or female. They may feel that they express elements of both, that they are somewhere in between or that they are something different.

However, 'non-binary' people can still have a strong sense of gender. Does this mean we can pick out our gender like we are choosing a different outfit, on any given day?

How we explain all of this to our children is a whole other matter, as I am still scratching my head from learning this relatively new language of 'nonbinary' in the gender spectrum. Try and keep up with me, Iam talking about children of three years and up, those at the beginning of schooling. What would you do, if when your child comes home from school or nursery and says they used a gender-neutral changing room? I would be hopping mad. Facing an apparent growing demand for such facilities, organisations claim to be meeting the needs of school. I can think of one in particular (Stonewall) which has programmes aimed from early years and primary school level, to help teach and train teachers.

“Our primary school resources (including posters, guides and book lists) give you tips to tackle homophobic, biphobia and transphobic bullying, challenge gender stereotypes and celebrate different families in your primary school,” it says.

I agree with the importance of respecting differences, but who decides at what age discussions of identity should start with our children? Why should three year-olds be taught about non-binary at pre school? Is society unable to just let children be children and stop exposing them to issues that I believe are not for them to worry about at such an early age? In my view, this choice should still be with the parents.

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