Transgender awareness in early years education (EYE): ‘we haven’t got any of those here'

Warin, Jo and Price, Deborah (2019). Transgender awareness in early years education (EYE): ‘we haven’t got any of those here'. Early Years, 40(1) pp. 140–154.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2019.1703174

Abstract

The paper marks the growth of interest in transgender rights and argues for the value of transgender awareness as a challenge to gender binary thinking. It identifies early years education as a powerful site for a focus on gender non-conformity and aims to draw together theoretical and practical forms of support for the EYE staff who respond to young children’s gendered expressions on an everyday basis. The authors draw on data gathered within their respective research and professional training trajectories which are understood through queer and feminist poststructuralist theory, together with approaches from transgender studies. These are combined to emphasise gender multiplicities and pluralities of sexuality. The paper examines how staff can be supported towards greater gender sensitivity and considers how the presence of more male teachers in EYE can act as a catalyst for developing a gender flexible pedagogy. It concludes that a growing awareness of transgender benefits the mental health and wellbeing of all young children, and protects gender- variant children from peer abuse.

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