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Boys with gender variant behaviors and interests: from theory to practice

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This article reflects our experiences of raising boys with gender-variant behaviors and interests. After a long personal and professional journey, living in a society that views children with gender-variant behavior and interests as aberrations that need to be examined, intervened with, or repackaged, we are moved to redirect our attention as academics, as women, and as mothers to the larger social processes that punish or reward particular forms of gender expression and gender identity. Using a feminist perspective, we offer a new conceptual lens with which to view these boys, not as an alternate or pathogenic form of masculinity, but rather as a healthy expression of a gender continuum. We challenge the views that construct gender as a binary system, that define masculinity as the repudiation of the feminine, and that encourage homophobia. In addition, we present the voices and experiences of parents, like ourselves, who are learning to 'facilitate' the expansive gender expressions that our children present to us. And lastly, we offer an invitation for educators to begin to critically examine the ideologies and practices that they bring to bear on their classrooms in order to create inclusive, safe, and welcoming environments for all children.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Arcadia University, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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