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Gender justice/gender through the eyes of children: a Photovoice project with elementary school gender expansive and LGBTQ-parented children and their allies

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How do children experience gender? What are the roles of schools, adults and allies in supporting gender inclusion in a world of gendered categories? Despite a growing public discourse on gender and shifts toward fluid understandings of gender in US popular culture and educational institutions, the voices of transgender and gender expansive children remain on the margins. In Spring 2017, fourteen elementary school children in a school in Northern California, USA, who are gender expansive, transgender and in LGBTQ parented families and their allies documented their understandings and experiences of gender in their lives and in the school using Photovoice methodology. Visual and narrative findings traced three related themes of gendered meanings, gendered spaces and gendered allies. This paper asks how we can build more inclusive school environments in which children can come into their fully gendered selves. By documenting meanings and experiences of gender, children illustrate the infinite possibilities of gender and create pathways to institutional and social change for inclusive educational environments. The paper addresses the role of gender justice in light of persistent injustices rendered in and through gendered states to support movements for educational and social change.
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Keywords: Photovoice; Transgender; USA; children; inclusion; schools

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Public Health Program, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, USA 2: Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley, CA, USA

Publication date: November 2, 2018

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