Learning platform

Learning platform


Estimated reading: 10 minutes
  • Be mindful about your context and the privileges you might have.
  • Exploring and learning is part of the self-discovery journey.
  • Everyone has the right to be who they want to be, and we should respect that.
  • It is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.


As it was mentioned in the previous pages, gender equality is not an isolated topic but rather an intersectional one because it is connected to gender and sexual identity, class, race, culture, etc. As a result, exploring and learning about yourself, your identity and how you can contribute to a more inclusive environment for everyone (and help in reaching gender equality) is a process that looks different for every one of us. What matters is that we keep an open mind and try to be aware of our prejudices and the feelings that we are projecting on others.

5.3.2. DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOPIC Be mindful about your context

When talking about complex topics such as gender equality, it is important to consider our starting place. This place represents our starting point, where we were born and what privileges we possess from a racial, cultural, and social background. In other words, it’s the context that lays behind our analysis of the topic. These are things you are born with and do not have any power over. What you can do though is to acknowledge that you might have certain advantages (privileges) and to use them in order to create equality for everyone. It is important to acknowledge this starting point because this is the base that we use to filter the information and to perceive the topic from a certain point of view. Our views are influenced by our environment and by how much we are affected by the subject in question.

When talking about gender equality, the point of view of a white middle class man from a western European country will not be the same with the point of view of a queer working-class person from an Asian country because their experiences can be extremely different. While for some people gender equality seems to be achieved, others see it as a utopian world, which is why it is important to consider aspects such as social class, race, religion, etc. In order to have a complete view of a topic, keep in mind that looking at it from different geographical parts, social contexts, religious backgrounds, etc, is all part of the process. This approach will provide an image that is close to a general reality rather than focusing on a restricted view. Discovering your identity

Have you ever felt like you can fit 100% into one of the binary gender boxes? (Identity Education, 2022)

Have you ever felt like you are 100% attracted to a certain gender and nothing else?

Have you ever felt you can align with something 100%?

A big part of activists and organisations working towards gender equality and gender identity have concluded that most of the children are never asked one of these questions and are not encouraged to ask themselves those questions.

There are no right or wrong answers. Discovering your identity, weather it is gender or sexual identity (or any other) is a complex process that takes time and patience. When going through that process Dara Hoffman-Fox (2021), expert in raising trans awareness, suggests a few things that could make the process smoother:

  • Remove the labels

If you are not comfortable in putting a label on your gender or sexual identity (such as transgender, bisexual, man/woman/non-binary person, etc.), you do not have to do it. There is no need and no rush in having a word that describes how you feel inside. If putting a label is something that works for you, go ahead! If it’s not, you do not have to pressure yourself and try to speed the process of self-discovery just to get to a point where you can place that label on it. What matters is that you ask yourself questions in order to discover what it is that you are comfortable with and what creates discomfort. When do you experience that discomfort? Are there certain circumstances?

  • Build a support system

Being surrounded by people who trust and respect you and your process is crucial throughout your discovery. These people can be family members, friends, counsellors, support groups, etc. It is important to be able to talk about your process to people who are willing to listen to you and support you on an emotional and mental level. If this type of support is currently lacking, online support groups are a good way to start (social media groups).

  • Do what feels gender-affirming

Realising that you do not feel aligned with the gender that was assigned to you at birth is the first step towards starting to explore things that feel more gender affirming. A few options that you can try out can be creating a social media account with the name and/or pronouns that you feel aligned to, playing with gender expression through clothes and accessories in the intimacy of your own room or asking your close friends to use the name/pronouns you feel aligned to.

Once you start trying out different options, you will discover what feels more comfortable and what was just an experiment in the process. This is how your identity is being built.

What matters most is that you take the time to ask yourself these questions and to encourage others to do the same.

Exploring and learning are two valuable components in the process of self-growth. It is okay to not be sure about your sex, your gender, or your sexual orientation. Growing up, we are raised to think in a binary way because most of the representation we see and hear is binary, heteronormative, and monogamous. In other words, “normal”, or better said “normalised”. Everything else that does not fit into those boxes is mostly considered weird or wrong.

It is completely normal to question your identity, your gender, and your sexuality even if you thought you were 100% sure of it before. Without exploring, you cannot discover new things and you might get stuck in the same routine and same old habits and activities, making it harder for you to grow. Changing your environment can contribute to that growth. Repeating the same patterns and staying in the same environments and with the same people without questioning anything or asking yourself if that is what you want or what is best for you, won’t help you discover who you really are and what you really need.


Q, a 12-year-old student from your class, is going through their identity discovery process and even though they were assigned male at birth, they feel uncomfortable with that identity and are trying to discover who they really are. After researching a bit, reading some books and seeing some videos on social media, they came across the term “non-binary” and started reading about it. Pretty quickly they felt really aligned and identified with everything they were reading so they decided to give it a try and see if this was who they were all along. While reading about gender expression, pronouns, and gender-neutral language, they decided to try out the pronouns they/them and asked a couple of close friends and classmates to start using those pronouns when they were referring to them. Even though it was something new for them too, the friends tried to accommodate the needs of their peers and started using the pronouns in all of the conversations they had during school hours.

One day, while talking about Q another colleague overheard the conversation and started laughing and mocking them for using pronouns that ‘did not fit their gender’. Other colleagues overheard that too and started laughing and avoiding Q during the breaks in the following days. Q did not want to go back to he/him pronouns as they did not feel like they could identify with them, so what they did instead was to start isolating themselves from the people who were dismissive of their discovery process.

5.3.4. BEST PRACTICES Conflict resolution

Following the situation that happened with Q, a good practice is to always address what is happening instead of ignoring it. It is important to address the conflict with both parties separately and with the whole group, as it involved some other classmates too.

Having a talk with Q and asking about their current needs and what you could do to accommodate those needs will help them feel safer and encourage them to keep exploring who they are. On the other hand, talking to the student who started mocking them might help you understand where everything was coming from. You could ask about their intentions; their understanding of the topic and you could explain how bullying and discrimination can affect somebody. Try to avoid shaming or projecting feelings and focus on the learning aspect of the talk.

When opening the subject with the whole class, you can do this by taking some time and creating a space where you can openly talk about gender identity and pronouns in the form of an informative session. This will bring the topic out in the open (instead of allowing it to happen in the dark) and will create the space for information exchange and for asking questions. Inside of this space, you can explain what gender identity is, how pronouns work and that it is okay to experiment with different identities that you feel might align better with what you are feeling inside. You can also allow interventions from your students and suggest some resources for further research. Be clear in your communication

When communicating with children, a good practice is to be as clear and as direct as you can in order to avoid misunderstandings. Try to avoid using substitute words for real life experiences or body parts or to talk around the subject hoping that they will understand what you mean. Instead name the experiences and body parts as they are and try to explain that everything is part of life and that there is no need to hide any of these talks or to talk in a coded way. Talking in a coded way or with substitute words would expose children to misunderstandings, to hiding or avoiding questions and to keeping secrets from adults because they may notice that adults are uncomfortable when the topic is opened. Regardless of if the talk is about sex, gender, identity, relationships, or anything else, talking about everything as it is (and using age-appropriate explanations) will encourage your children to be curious and informed instead of afraid of opening a conversation that they see might make you uncomfortable.

This approach will also show children and teens that there is nothing weird and nothing to be ashamed of and will keep them informed, instead of perpetuating secrecy and making some topics taboo.


Hoffman-Fox, D. (2021). What Is My Gender Identity & How Do I Know I’m Transgender? Meetmonarch.com. Retrieved from https://meetmonarch.com/health-resources/articles/gender-identity/discover-your-gender-identity-4-tips-to-help-you-find-your-authentic-self

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