Steven Universe

Steven Universe is an animated television show currently running on Cartoon Network. The show features Steven Universe, a young boy growing up with the “Crystal Gems”; three alien rebels who protect the earth from the other extraterrestrial Gems. Through missions, battles, and interactions with the Gems and his human friends, this coming-of-age story follows Steven while he discovers his abilities and learns about who he is. This show is groundbreaking in its representation of gender roles and its queer-positive message.

The show was created by Rebecca Sugar and is Cartoon Network’s first show solely created by a woman.

“My goal with the show was to really tear down and play with the semiotics of gender in cartoons for children” -Rebecca Sugar

Steven, being half-gem and half-human, is the first and only male Gem. The Crystal Gems whom he lives with are all female and assume a motherly role for Steven. He looks up to and learns from these heroines, a big twist on the normally male-dominated hero role in young boy’s cartoons. It’s through this sort of gender-role shifting that Steven Universe shows boys that it’s okay to look up to women as role models.

Amethyst

Even though all of the characters that Steven learns from are female, they all embody different elements of femininity and masculinity. In her book “Female Masculinity,” Judith Halberstam sought to identify what constitutes masculinity. In one example in her book, she talks about the James bond classic Goldeneye. Halberstam claims that though she is female, M is the most masculine character in the movie. In Steven Universe, Garnet is perhaps the most masculine of the Gems. She is strong, intelligent and is the new leader of the Crystal Gems. Many of the Gems also appear tomboy-ish, exhibiting more masculine qualities. Amethyst is one such tomboy. She is bad-mannered, loud, messy, and impulsive, lacking most traditionally feminine qualities.

In addition to its strong and diverse female cast, there are not-so-subtle queer overtones in Steven Universe. Their former leader and Steven’s mother Rose Quartz, gave up her physical form to create Steven. The Crystal Gems all looked up to Rose Quartz, and Pearl had a particularly close relationship with her. When reminiscing about Rose Quartz, Pearl is very loving and even calls Rose Quartz “beautiful.”  Emotional connections and relationships of all kinds are major themes in the cartoon.

Stevonnie

One major power of the Gems is “fusion.” By joining together, two gems are able to create one entirely different entity, sharing features of each individual gem and growing in power. The writers of the show use this ability to explore emotional connections. In one episode Steven accidentally fuses with his female friend and romantic interest Connie. Together, they become the androgynous ‘Stevonnie‘ who is never referred to using gendered pronouns. In this body, Steven has a gender-bending experience where everyone in the city sees Stevonnie as a very beautiful person. This exploration of gender for Steven shows the viewer his more feminine side in a fun way.

While Stevonnie was present only once in a light-hearted episode, the season one finale was perhaps the most serious demonstration of a romantic fusion. It is revealed at the end of season one that Garnet, the current leader of the Crystal Gems, actually exists as a near-permanent fusion of the gems Ruby and Sapphire. These two Gems are deeply in love and decided to stay fused forever a a sign of their strong bond. This perceived homosexual relationship between Ruby and Sapphire is portrayed beautifully in the show. Parallels can be drawn between their fusion and marriage, where two people join to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. This clip shows the reunion of Ruby and Sapphire after they were captured and forcibly separated. It’s clear that there is a deep emotional connection between these female gems and Steven takes it completely in stride.

Representation in television shows has a great effect on children. Studies show that when kids see people like them portrayed positively in media they are positively impacted. Steven Universe’s queer-positive and heroic female message reaches kids at a critical time in development, when children are still discovering and exploring gender and identity. Because of the cartoon’s unique perspective on feminine role models and queer-positivity I feel that Steven Universe deserves a spot in this digital archive.

The Representation of LGBT Families in Children’s Picture Books

Although the Gay Rights Movement was fully underway by the early 1980s, LGBT families were still invisible, especially in education and literature. LGBT parents existed, but everything from TV shows to books only displayed heteronormative family structures, with no media outlet reflecting LGBT family structures. The early 1980s was a pivoting movement for the introduction of children’s picture books focusing on LGBT parents. “Your Family, My Family” by Joan Drescher in 1980 was one of the first US children’s picture books to show a same-sex family when discussing the many types of families a jennychild could have. Although the idea of educating people on different types of families seems positive, with every step forward there was backlash. “Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin” by Susanne Bosche was also one of the first, and very controversial, children’s books to exclusively discuss gay fathers. It was originally written in Danish, but was translated into English in 1983. This book used real photographs to tell the story of Jenny, a five year old girl, who lived with her father and his boyfriend. The book is known famously for evoking so many mixed emotions that it unfortunately was followed by a huge backlash in the form of the UK’s Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which banned the promotion of homosexuality by local government. So in attempting to educate people about LGBT families, the UK took a step back by banning LGBT education altogether.

heather“Heather has two Mommies,” published in 1989 and written by Lesléa Newman, was one of the first children’s picture books to discuss lesbian mothers. This book also lead to political controversy in the US. Newman stated, “I wanted to create a book the would help children with lesbian mothers feel good about themselves and their family.” She felt that all children, including children of LGBT parents, would benefit from more books that focused on educating about diversity. This book told the story of Heather and her experience discussing her family at daycare.  A year later, “Daddy’s Roommate” by Michael WIllhoite was published in 1990. This children’s picture book focused on a boy telling the audience about his father’s relationship with his “roommate” and the interactions that occur between the family members. Both of these books depicted what life was like as a child being raised by LGBT parents, and revealed the similarities between having same-sex parents and heterosexual parents.

I think that these children’s books represent queer culture because they represent, educate about, and give examples of families who have LGBT parents. Queer culture attempts to provide a positive and welcoming acceptance of LGBT people and their lives. An important factor in everyone’s life, including LGBT people, is family. Both queer culture and these children’s books provide a positive outlet to embrace and support LGBT families. The overall message of all of the children’s books was to show that the most important factor in a family was love and being happy. “Heather has two Mommies” ended by stating, “It does not matter how many mommies or daddies your family has. daddys_roommateEach family is special. The most important thing about a family is that all people in it love each other.” “Daddy’s Roommate” ended by stating, “ Being gay is just one more kind of love and love is the best kind of happiness. Daddy and his roommate are very happy together and I am happy too!” Each book ended with revealing the common thread between families, love. Queer culture is about LGBT people’s lives, and these books tell their story, a story which is too often not told to children. The authors of these books were LGBT, the characters in these books are LGBT parents, and the target audience were LGBT families and families of heterosexual parents to educate their children about LGBT families.

I think that these children’s books belong in our history unit because they played a large role in LGBT lives by impacting laws, bringing attention to other aspects of LGBT peoples’ lives, and introducing a new genre of children’s books that encouraged the education, knowledge, and acceptance of LGBT families. Before these books, there were no children’s books at all that discussed even the possibility of LGBT parents. Children’s books reflected the attitudes of  a heteronormative society and LGBT families were invisible. As Michel Foucault states in The History of Sexuality: Volume 1,

“Repression operated as a sentence to disappear, but also as an injunction to silence, as affirmation of nonexistence, and, by implication, an admission that there was nothing to say about such things, nothing to see, and nothing to know.”

I think that Foucault’s quote explains that the lack of representation of LGBT families in children’s books told those LGBT parents and their children that their families were not important or of value. These children’s books broke that barrier; they told LGBT families that they were important, that they matter, that they were worth writing about, they were worth reading about, and they were worth educating other children about. Finally, there was a book that children of LGBT parents could relate to and that they felt told their story. Finally, there was positive discussion and education for children about LGBT families.

These books both revealed progress for LGBT people and queer culture, and also revealed that there was much more work to be done. Unfortunately, in cases like “Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin,” these little successes were often faced with bigger backlash. Each and every book that I have discussed has been banned at one point or another, but now, more than 30 years after “Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin” was published, there are hundreds of childrens books which focus on various topics of LGBT life  including LGBT families. Although LGBT children’s books can still be viewed as controversial, there has been so much progress, all thanks to these very first children’s books which introduced LGBT parents. LGBT families are now more visible than ever in children’s books.

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Raised As a Girl

John Colapinto Author of As Nature Made Him PictureJohn Colapinto is most recently known for his New York Times bestselling novel “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Raised as a Girl.” The author grew up in Toronto Canada, and earned his master’s degree in English literature fairly close to home, at the University of Toronto. For the next several years he was a freelance writer for many local magazine companies in Canada. In order to pursue a more permanent career he made the decision to move to New York City, and he then wrote for many well-known magazine companies like Vanity Fair, New York Times, and the New Yorker. Six years later in 1995 he became the contributing editor for the Rolling Stones. During his time working there, John wrote a story about a medical scandal involving a botched circumcision. The story became so popular he won a National Magazine Award, and he evolved it into a novel in 2001. Today he lives in New York City with his wife and son.

As Nature Made Him Book CoverThe novel “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Raised as a Girl” by John Colapinto tells the tragic story of a young twin boy who had a botched circumcision. When he was only eight months old, a doctor used an electrocautery needle instead of a scalpel during a circumcision, which burned off his entire penis as a result. This forced a life changing decision for the parents to raise baby Bruce as a girl named Brenda, based on the persuasion by Dr. John Money, who strongly believed that “The sex a baby was born with didn’t matter; you could convert a baby from one sex to the other.” Like many other families, they believed the doctor knew best and they believed Dr. Money’s theory that if baby Bruce had a sex change by age of two and a half to three years old “she could be given a perfectly functional vagina, she would develop psychologically as a woman and would find her erotic attraction to men.” The Reimer’s agreed to the sex change simply because they wanted to give their child the best life he/she could have, and they honestly thought this would be the best option. They could not have been more wrong.

“The bestselling account of the now famous “Twins” case that became a touchstone in the debates on gender identity and nature versus nurture” –New York Times Book Review

Brenda Reimer

However, the family noticed as Brenda grew up that she was masculine in every way, she refused to play with any stereotypical girl toys and even stood up to pee instead of sitting down like a girl. I think her twin brother explained it best when he said, “When I say there was nothing feminine about Brenda, I mean there was nothing feminine. She walked like a guy. Sat with her legs apart. She talked about guy things, didn’t give a crap about cleaning the house, getting married, wearing makeup. We both wanted to play with guys, build forts and have snowball fights and play army.” The story goes in depth about how the Reimer family raised Brenda as a girl, how they dealt with her differences, and how Brenda struggled growing up feeling like a boy in a girl’s body. Everyday Brenda felt deeply confused, alone, and depressed because of her not feeling like the biological sex she was given. Until the age of fourteen, the parents refused to tell Brenda what really happened to her as a baby, because Dr. Money told them it would ruin the process and therefore they had to keep this a secret. Later in life when Brenda found out about this accident, she made the mature decision at the age of fifteen to have another sex change to become a male.

“I didn’t like dressing like a girl. I didn’t like behaving like a girl. I didn’t like acting like a girl.”

I think this novel belongs in the digital archive because although it is a sad and tragic story, it is the reality of living in a queer culture where you are not totally accepted. “I appear to be a tangled knot of gender contradictions. So they feverishly press the question on me; woman or man? Those are the only two words most people have as tools to shape their question.” This idea of gender contradictions would ultimately describe David Reimer’s struggle identifying with masculine things as Brenda, even though she knew this is not what girls are supposed to do.

“You don’t wake up one morning deciding if you’re a boy or a girl. You just know.”

David Reimer

“As Nature Made Him: The Boy Raised as a Girl” relates to the transgender unit in regards to the life of a transgender, as well as the idea of gender identity. I think this novel connected well with the article we read in class from the novel “Transgender Liberation a Movement Whose Time Has Come” by Leslie Feinberg. In the article she says “Our lives are proof that sex and gender are much more complex than a delivery room doctor’s glance at genitals can determine, more variegated than pink or blue birth caps. We are oppressed for not fitting those narrow social norms.” I think that quote explains David Reimer’s life because being raised as a girl, did not make her a girl. She refused to play with Barbies, she detested wearing pink dresses, and only wanted to do things a boy would do. For example, she constantly fought with her twin brother over his toys and clothes. He was criticized daily, teased, and bullied for being different. David Reimer is just one of many stories about living as a transgender, and I believe it is imperative for society to learn about these stories and become more educated about queer culture.

“I was never happy as Brenda. Never. I’d slit my throat before I’d go back to that. I’d never go back to that. It didn’t work because that’s life, because you’re human and you’re not stupid and eventually you wind up being who you are.”David Reimer Transformation

Sadly in 2004, David Reimer decided to take his own life at the young age of thirty-eight. The author Colapinto discussed how there were many factors that contributed to his suicide including the death of his twin brother two years prior from a drug overdose, marital problems with his wife, financial issues, and the constant emotional struggles he dealt with daily due to his painful childhood. This story is truly a tragedy and something that he should never have experienced. I think this fits in well with the digital archive because it shows many aspects of the queer community, and the struggles they endure. People outside of the queer community often do not understand the complexity of gender dysphoria

Tomboy

Listen. I am not doing this to hurt you or to teach  you a lesson. I have to, do you understand? I don’t mind you playing “the boy.” It doesn’t even make me sad. But this can’t go on.

During the recent increase in support of the Transgender Rights Movement, the French film Tomboy was released in 2011. Only one year before the movie came out, France emerged as the first country to declare that Transgenderism is not a mental illness. In the year following the film, the French senate voted to prohibit discrimination specifically against those who identify as transgender. After such a long time in the shadows, daily struggles encountered by trans* people were finally beginning to surface in the mainstream, heteronormative world of both film and government. I believe that the timing played a large role in not only the creation of the film, but also with its success. Céline Sciamma, the director and writer of the film, pointed out in an interview that although France is viewed as one of the most LGBT friendly countries in the world, the film was still very unique for its time.

Tomboy is an artistic and heartfelt film about Mikael, a transgender boy, and his summer experience exploring his gender identity in his new community. The film begins with Mikael and his family settling into their new apartment. Within the first fifteen minutes of the film, Mikael’s gender becomes a topic of opposition; the tomboy-560-x-342audience is both introduced to Mikael as a boy among his new friends, and as a girl among his family. Mikael explores his gender identity by participating in stereotypically male activities such as sports and getting into a physical fight while among the local children. In contrast,  his mother pulls the audience’s, as well as Mikael’s, attention back to his biological sex by constantly referring to him as a girl. Although his family is supportive towards his “tomboy” qualities, allowing him to dress gender ambiguously, have his room painted blue, and cut his hair short, they are unaware that he has all of his friends believing that he is a boy. The film shockingly ends by revealing how his family reacts and attempts to “correct” Mikael’s choices.

I chose to include this film in our digital archive for a few reasons. Firstly, I thought that Mikael’s experiences speak to queer experience more broadly. I think that his struggles with fitting into the normative dichotomy of gender, fearing of how others would react to his gender expression choices, and acting in a way which is not conformational to his biological gender norms align with many topics of queer culture. Mikael’s choices about his appearance, his preferences in activities, as well as his interactions with others contradict normative culture by defying gender norms. Secondly, I chose this film  because it gave a slightly different perspective to queer culture. I feel that a large majority of queer culture revolves around adults and teenagers, and children are often left out of the picture. I felt that Tomboy did a great job of revealing the struggles with identity and gender nonconformity that can affect children. People often feel uncomfortable when there is not a distinct separation between children and topics relating to sexuality, which could be why we do not hear about childhood gender nonconformity frequently. The film reveals that children can have complex identities, which may not fit within the constraining pink and blue boxes that our society assigns children into at birth. It attempts to break down the expectation that one’s identity is always easily discovered through a normative direct path leading from biological sex to gender.

Lisa came by looking for you… She came looking for Mikael. Why are you doing this? You pretend to be a boy.

The film is constantly challenging the audience’s conceptions of the role of gender in the interaction of relationships. The opening scene of Mikael’s father teaching him how to drive, as well as the scene where his father offers him a taste of his beer, embodies the cliche developmental milestone of the coming-to-age interaction between a normative father-son relationship. I think that the importance of these scenes lies within the implication that gender roles are attached to an expectation of how people of a specific gender should interact with others and form relationships. I think that Mikael’s relationship with his father reflects what our society expects out of a father-son relationship, which allows the audience to feel more congruent with Mikael’s masculine gender identity.

tubShortly after the movie begins, there is a scene in which Mikael is bathing with his sister. Mikael’s little sister uses the soap to form Mikael’s hair into a masculine associated Mohawk. As Mikael exits the tub, the audience can see the primary sex characteristics which define and restrain Mikael as a female. The bathtub scene questions the audience’s idea of where the line is drawn between gender and biological sex, where they are correlated, and where they are opposed. So much of the story revolves around Mikael’s masculine gender identity, emphasizing the possible variance of gender expression people can have, which is not dependently restricted by one’s sex. The film reveals that there is no one correct way in which to express gender, and that we should not limit our self expression and identity to restrictive normative roles. In the “TransLiberation: Beyond Pink and Blue” article, Feinberg describes the importance of difference in gender expression.

“We are a movement of masculine females and feminine males, cross-dressers, transsexual men and women, intersexuals born on the anatomical sweep between female and male, gender-blenders, many other sex and gender-variant people, and our significant others. All told, we expand understanding of how many ways there are to be a human being.” -Feinberg

Feinberg is trying to express that everyone is different, and instead of trying to diminish that difference, it should be something that is embraced, encouraged, and accepted. Tomboy is a beautiful and touching portrayal of the variation within childhood gender identity and expression, which leaves the audience more conscientious and welcoming to the possibilities of gender differences.

 I have a big brother, which is way better (than a sister). Cause a big brother can protect you. You know, once my brother fought some boys that were bullying me. He punched them really hard cause they were rude to me. That was in our old home. He was the strongest boy in the neighborhood.

(- Mikael’s sister bragging about Mikael)

“Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity”

Winner of the National Book Award and author of The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon is both a writer and lecturer on politics and psychology as well as an activist for LGBT rights and mental health. He is a Yale graduate with a degree in English, who later earned his masters at Jesus College in Cambridge. He currently lives in New York

bio-photo-leibowitz-585x389and London with his husband and son.

“Though many of us take pride in how different we are from our parents, we are endlessly sad at how different our children are from us.”

Andrew’s most recent book, Far From The Tree, deals with parents and their children, specifically, children who do not fall into the “normal spectrum” or who “fall far from the tree.” It ultimately the search for identity, for children who range from schizophrenic to prodigious, and for parents to be able to accept and recognize this identity. However, throughout the book we see constantly how parents find this recognition to be quite difficult, and seeing these differences as overbearing and relentless at times. The fact that there is no “guide” to parenthood, especially when there child cannot be handled through conventional ways, leaves this sort of disconnect between the two; instead of seeing the child a version of the parent, the relationship can be comparable to that of Frankenstein and his monster: the creator seeing its creation as unnatural and often times unrecognizable. This book that took over ten years to compile and three hundred families to interview gained a spot in the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012 as well as becoming a New York Times bestseller.

Far From The Tree is separated into ten different sections; Deaf, Dwarfs, Down Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, Disability, Prodigies, Rape, Crime, and Transgender. Each of these goes into depth about the communities that these children (and their parents) fall into and personal stories about their struggles for the search for the child’s identity (as Andrew puts it, these are all identities that have created some difficulty in each of the families lives). In the first chapter before getting into the identifar-from-the-tree-cover-223x339ty sections, he discusses how from generation to generation our children share at least some traits with us, called vertical identityHowever, when someone acquires a trait that is foreign to the parent it is referred to as a horizontal identity. These can reflect recessive genes, mutations, prenatal influences, or values and preferences that the child simply doesn’t share with its parents. Horizontal identities include physical disability, psychopathy, criminality, and intellectual disability. Vertical identities are usually praised and respected while horizontal ones are seen as defects.

“…these children are apples that have fallen elsewhere––some a couple of orchards away, some on the other side of the world. Yet myriad families learn to tolerate, accept, and finally celebrate children who are not what they originally had in mind.”

The chapter “Transgender” starts off referencing gender binaries and how fearful it is in the gender normative society when we see those who deviate from what is expected (the male to be masculine, the female to be feminine). The term transgender would include behaviors that departed significantly from the norms of a persons assigned sex at birth. This gender dissonance manifests itself rather early, around two or three years old sometimes. This discrepancy is known as GID (gender identity disorder) and the children show very clear signs of nonconformity. Vanessia Romero, then twenty-seven weeks pregnant, and when rushed to the hospital gave birth to a strong baby girl, and fairly weak baby boy. But when the girl had a reaction to the pulmonary surfactants, she died in minutes. The boy survived. After marrying Joseph Romero (an air force sergeant), they changed the boys name to Joseph Romero II. They recalled Joey crying constantly, not for food or a diaper change, but something else. “We had a child who never smiled… all the time we were cooing, ‘Oh you’re such a good boy, such a beautiful boy.’ Boy, boy, boy” said Vanessia, but she had noticed early on that Joey was overwhelmingly interested in girly outfits. When she researched GID, her husband would cringe at the idea of it. This is not uncommon among cisgender heterosexual parents in this chapter, they all seemed to be unable to fathom such a thing. But the TransYouth Family Allies (a support group for families with children who are gender variant) found Vanessia and helped her not only cope but understand the situation. From then on, she began to call Joey by her new name, Josie.

Like most of the stories in this chapter, it is not so much the children who refuse to accept the child, but the surrounding adults. Vanessia spoke of people vandalizing their home, calling them child molesters, of having to switch schools and locations because the schools and hospitals refused to protect their child. Parents are also constantly torn between letting their kid choose a gender, or forcing them to conform in hopes that it might be phase. After all, only a very small percentage of gender variant children turn out to be trangender (most end up being gay). Whether or not to put them on hormone blockers, or wait until they’ve gone through puberty could both be detrimental to the child’s development. Thus, parents of transgender kids are confronted with some of the most difficult decisions that most do not even think about preparing for.

Above all else though, there is a significant transition that the parents go through as well as their kids. They go from being devoid of any connections to their “alien” child, to learning and adjusting to the life they were born to experience. It is the resurgence of intimacy between parent and child; only when we learn to love them do we associate so called “flaws” as celebratory differences that inevitably bring the two closer together.

 

 

Raising My Rainbow

“Look Mommy, my bear’s fingernails match my fingernails,” he squeals in giddy delight, kicking his feet, which dangle down from his booster seat, his pink polka-dot Minnie Mouse socks peeking out from his mint green tennis shoes.”

Lori Duron is a mommy blogger, and her first published book, “Raising my Rainbow,” is about raising her son who is “gender creative,” or transgender. She and her military husband have two sons; one who is “all boy” (encompassing the many stereotypes of masculinity) and another who “neither all pink nor all blue.”

“He’s a muddled mess or rainbow creation.”

Duron writes about all the hardships and wonderful experiences that her “rainbow” son C.J. goes through in a world that doesn’t understand gender performativity and certainly doesn’t understand gender nonconforming children.

Written and published only a few years ago (late 2013) the memoir is not Duron’s only source of conversation surrounding her son. Indeed Duron has is one of the many moms following a new trend that has risen with the age of the internet.

Book Cover

Book Cover

For five years she been blogging with blog post titles like “If Homosexuality Could be Detected During Pregnancy Would You Want to Know?”, “California Department of Education Lies, Does Not Investigate LGBTQ Bullying,” and “My Son as Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods,” she has covered a wide variety of topics concerning her two children, their sexualities, her community and various LGBTQ issues surrounding her.

You can read Duron’s blog and/or order her book here.

This book is a memoir that brings to light an important subject that many parents in the 21st century are not prepared for and often try to ignore; childhood gender expression and sexuality.

Lori and C.J.

Lori and C.J.

C.J.

C.J.

Adults find it very difficult to think of children as having a sexuality, and we often refer to them as innocent. Paradoxically, as Kathryn Stockton points out in the introduction of her book “The Queer Child,”  we also choose to assume that all children will grow-up to be straight. We have allocated a certain status of existence to children such that the concept of a gay child can only be thought of after the child has realized they are not straight. Stockton says,

“Children grow sideways as well as up – or so I will say – in part because they cannot, according to our concepts advance to adulthood until we say it’s time,”

We often say that children will lose their childish ways and eventually grow to become sexual subjects, but we only allow this to happen after they become adults. Because of this, we struggle to conceptualize the gay child in the present. Queer people are often asked, “when did you know you were gay?” We don’t allow a gay child to exist because by our understanding of a child, it has no sexuality.

Duron’s “Raising My Rainbow” focuses on her very young child as being transgender, but even she tends to avoid the concept that her child is sexual in any way. At the beginning of her book she even describes how she originally assumed that C.J. was just going through a phase (something she now regrets thinking). Despite this, her book still discusses a topic that many parents are now facing today. This is hopefully part of a movement towards a society that embellishes and thrives on childhood (and adulthood) individuality including the vast, beautiful differences of childhood sexuality and gender.

Stockton, Kathryn B. “Growing Sideways, or Why Children Appear to Get Queerer in the Twentieth Century.” Introduction. The Queer Child. N.p.: Duke UP, 2009. 1-57. Print.