Transgender and gender-variant youth, their families, and their communities often face unnecessary isolation, discrimination, and harassment. By providing information on community resources, advocacy, and support programs, SAGA hopes to promote the physical, emotional, and social health of transgender and gender-variant youth and their communities.
It is often assumed that gender is genetically and biologically determined and if one does not fit into the confines of these categories, there is something wrong. Because a person has certain anatomical or physical traits, they are supposed to relate to their body in a very specific manner and have an innate sense of what it means to be either female or male. But the evidence used to prove this innate sense of gender is incredibly unstable and unreliable. In fact, by attempting to prove gender as innate, it becomes increasingly evident that gender is a set of social expectations that change with time and space. For example, what it means to be a woman today is very different from just fifty years ago. Similarly, the expectations for men in the U.S.A. are very different from expectations for men in other parts of the world.
Acknowledging gender as a social construct does not devalue the importance of gender to one’s sense of self or one’s identity. Instead we hope to celebrate all genders, not only the restrictive two deemed valuable. We hope to support gender diversity by disrupting the notion of gender as an unchanging phenomenon. A good place to begin involves examining gender in our own lives.
Here are a few questions to get started:
- How does your gender change within the multiple realms of your life?
- Do you perform your gender differently when you are at work? At home? With friends?
- How has your sense of gender changed through out your life?
- What do you consider important markers of your gender today? What did you consider important markers of your gender when you were fourteen?
- In what ways have you or do you challenge or resist imposed gender expectations of appearance, mannerisms, interests or activities, occupations, and relationships?