Movies make it so easy to talk to kids about gender identities. In reality, it is hard for many of us who have young kids to do because our parents never sat us down to have these difficult talks. Many of us are on our own in figuring out what to tell our kids especially when they start asking questions. That's when books can come in handy especially when we want to raise kids who are gender sensitive. Here are three that may help.
A Lesson from Juana/Isang Aral Mula Kay Juana by Becky Bravo and illustration by Jonathan Rañola (Lampara Books, P84.75)
I know little girls whose parents will not allow them to take taekwondo classes because “taekwondo is for boys, ballet is for girls.” I hope that isn't true for you. If your daughter needs encouraging or to see that she can do anything, let her read this book. It is a beautiful tale of a young girl determined to discover what the world has to offer and challenges her community’s set gender roles. With her father’s guidance and blessing, she succeeds in breaking the norm and shares her success with the community.
Uncle Sam by Segundo D. Matias, Jr. and illustration by Jason Moss (Lampara Books, P84.75)
I’m sure your child has asked you one or all of these questions: “Is he a man or a woman? Why is the man wearing lipstick? Why does the man have boobs? Why is the man wearing a dress? Why does the man look like a woman? Why does he want to be a woman if he’s a man?” We know the answers are complex (and personal), but this book can help let your child see beyond the physical. The story of Annie, whose favorite uncle is Uncle Sam, whom she also calls Auntie Samantha, stresses that love and family transcend gender orientation.
Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin/ Ikaklit in Our Garden by Bernadette Villanueva Neri and illustration by CJ de Silva (Publikasyong Twamkittens, P150)
A young girl grows up in a loving family where instead of a mother and father, she has two mothers. Once she starts going to school, she doesn't understand why her classmates make fun of her family. This book is a beautiful way to explain to children that there are different types of families. What is important is the love that unites and keeps them together.
Ang Bonggang-Bonggang Batang Beki!/ The Fierce and Fabulous Boy in Pink! by Rhandee Garlitos and illustration by Tokwa Salazar Peñaflorida (LG&M Corporation, P75)
A mom once told me that she knew her son was gay even when he was just a toddler, and like all mothers, she loves him dearly. This book is for parents who want to tell their gay sons (and the world) that they are wonderful and loved. It is the story of Adel -- he loves pink and singing and dancing to jumpy songs. He's a very loving and thoughtful son and brother. He sometimes gets teased, but Adel proves to everyone that he's a very brave boy that won't think twice about helping anyone in need.