The ABC’s of Gender Diversity… written by Tracy Bryan

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Lately there has been quite a bit of news and social media focused on gender diversity issues. I believe it’s because a lot of people in our society are changing the way that they look at this topic. Society is generally becoming more aware and accepting, at least in the larger cities, about issues that affect the LGBTQIA+ community. More specifically, with regards to gender roles…IT’S ABOUT TIME!shutterstock_108333257

I say this with sassiness, because I have personally, in my 46 years of life, watched people in our society go from total shame talking about anything regarding this topic, to opening their minds and discussing that gender diversity actually exists. People are beginning to understand that the concept of only two binary gender labels (female and male) is a stereotypical view of gender in modern society, and that these identifications don’t necessarily apply to everyone. This progressive outlook is becoming more common with most people. We have come along way, but don’t stop yet-we still have mountains to move!

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As a children’s author, I have written several books on or related to this topic and I admit, it is of great interest to me. I am an Ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, have many friends that are part of this family and I try to support their causes as frequently and as much as I can. I like to keep up to date on most social issues, especially ones that affect children. Currently, I continue to see far too many news items that pertain to hate and intolerance of the LGBTQIA+ community.

A colorful image of a group of diverse teenagers standing  together as a symbol of friendship, support and teamwork. John, Aaron, Alyssa, Austin, Eli, Montisha, Gavin, Kevin, Hayley, Malena

Like most writers, I am prompted to do research when I want to understand the specifics of a topic. The topic being- current trends in gender diversity and how our society perceives these changes. Well, I can admit that this is a challenging subject to physically ‘Google’. While researching, I was automatically confronted with articles about gender diversity, but they were heavily laden with politics and religion. These are two themes I try to avoid. I attempted to narrow my search down to gender diversity and children. Then I saw it…the perfect article! It was from Huffington Post, written by Brynn Tannehill, called: ‘Dispelling Myths, Misconceptions and Lies About Gender Nonconforming Children’.(1) Before you read on, I highly recommend you go and read this first. It’s not necessary in order to follow along here, but definitely worth the read!

shutterstock_174992633What I noticed as I began to read the article were the words “Gender Noncomforming” in the title. I know I’ve heard these two words together, but they aren’t really typical when used to describe children. Instantly I looked this up too. According to genderdiversity.org, this also means Gender Variance, which refers to behaviours and interests that fit outside of what we consider ‘normal’ for a child or adult’s assigned biological sex.

This I knew! What I didn’t know was that some kids as young as 2 or 3 have already formed their Gender Identity. Here’s an excerpt from Tannehill’s article: “The consensus of the medical community is that sexual dimorphism of the brain occurs in utero as a result of exposure, or lack thereof, to androgens.” In other words, gender identity and expression are determined before a child is even born. It is only at 2 or 3 that they can express it. Cool!

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Here’s a relatively quick review of Gender 101: shutterstock_134369750

Basically, every person has a certain SEX: this is our biological makeup that we are born with. No choice here, because our genes determine if we are going to be male, female or intersex (a person who is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.)(2) If our biological sex is determined by genes (which are chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); hormones (estrogen/progesterone for females, testosterone for males); and internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina for assigned females, penis and testicles for assigned males) there are so many variations of all these biological factors to consider when defining someone’s gender. Binary labels don’t really exist here and therefore a person’s gender should be seen in more of a spectrum.(3)

shutterstock_143594236What is GENDER then? The current definition by the American Psychological Association defines gender as: the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that society expects when being male or female. How we are seen by others, how we feel and behave as a boy or a girl. (4) This doesn’t seem broad enough though when considering the biological gender spectrum. Welcoming Schools (an organization that offers professional development tools, lessons aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and many additional resources for elementary schools about gender diversity) offers an alternative definition of gender: the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Gender varies between cultures and over time. There is broad variation in which individuals experience and express gender.(5)

shutterstock_128732960As we grow and become more aware of who we are, and most important who we FEEL like, we start to develop a GENDER IDENTITY. This is the sense of “being” Male, Female, Agender, etc. For some people, gender identity matches their physical anatomy and this is referred to as being Cisgender. For someone who is Transgender, their gender identity may differ from physical anatomy or expected social rules. (6) So, according to the article by Huffington Post, this is already happening in some kids that are 2 and 3 years old. Interesting! Some of the nonconforming gender identities are:

AGENDER – a person that does not identify as a boy or a girl – they often prefer not to label their gender. Some actually view Agender as a label of its own, similar to Androgynes. GENDERQUEER – a person that expresses themselves as both a girl and a boy. TRANSGENDER – a person that does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. If born female, they don’t feel female, their gender expression is male. Some transgender people also identify as Genderqueer (they do not identify with their birth gender assignment, they express and sometimes even augment their bodies to appear more like the opposite gender from their sex). TRANSSEXUAL is a person whose biological sex at birth does not match their identity. (7) Some Transsexual people have or desire to have surgeries to change their sex. All transsexual people are transgender, but not all transgender people identify as transsexual. The terminology used to describe all these identities is vast and evolving. Gender nonconforming is a common term. Increasingly popular are also such phrases as gender independent, gender creative, gender expansive and gender diverse. (8)shutterstock_123167548 Each of us expresses gender every day – by the way we style our hair, select our clothing, or even the way we stand. Our appearance, speech, behaviour, movement, and other factors signal what we feel – and wish to be understood – as masculine or feminine, or as a boy or a girl or otherwise. This is called our GENDER EXPRESSION. (9) Someone who identifies as a particular gender may not look or act like that gender based on what society thinks is a normal way for that gender to look or be.

 

In essence, if a child is already born with their gender identity as well as their sex, and they can express it as young as two years old, it’s important to better understand these children by listening to their feelings about their gender, regardless if these may go against societal norms or not. Who wants to grow up with restrictions on what they should and shouldn’t look like, feel like, act like or be?

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We need to be more sensitive to all children and adults with regards to what gender markers we label them with and be conscious of what they prefer to be identified as. There are certain terms and Preferred Personal Pronouns that are currently expected when referring to someone’s gender, gender identity and gender expression. In addition to the traditional pronouns (he/him, she/her, they), some people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them, ne, ve, ze/zie and xe. If you don’t know a person’s preferred personal pronoun, it’s always best to ask what they feel comfortable with. (10)

shutterstock_189607556So… is society generally becoming more aware and accepting of nonconforming gender roles? If so, is this because my parent’s generation and the generation before that simply ignore the conflicted feelings that children and adults may have been trying to express years ago? Or, is it just that current society has gained an ability to be more understanding of change primarily because of all the scientific research that has been done about gender. Finally, are people more compassionate and aware of others solely because people and their families are becoming more diverse? Is this in turn causing society to naturally respect the need to make changes in order to nurture itself?

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It’s important to understand what our current social norms are and how we arrived here. The most important question we need to ask ourselves at this point, however, is what are we going to do as a society to change our attitudes even more, now that we are here? How many more gender nonconforming children and adults do we need to hear about, that have been isolated, bullied or even killed when expressing themselves as WHO they rightfully and naturally are. The hate and intolerance has got to stop!

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On Aug. 14, 2015, the number of transgender people murdered in America this year hit a historic high of 15, according to advocacy organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality.(11) Transgender and Gender Nonconforming youth face challenges at home, at school, in foster care, and in juvenile justice systems. A national survey by GLSEN has found that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school, and those who are able to persevere had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education.(12)

shutterstock_268678955The mountain that needs moving seems so heavy, but there are many good people in our society who are strong and will help those that can’t. I like to think that most people will naturally grab the hand of their fellow human if they are struggling or having difficulty fitting in. I think that society will continue to gain awareness about it’s people – all of them eventually. And…at least I can hope that most people will stop to take notice of WHY we are moving the mountain in the first place! We are all in this together…you, me, he, she, they/them, ne, ve, ze/zie and xe!

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shutterstock_101697520Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 2-11. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, self-esteem, mindfulness and mental health. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone. Please visit Tracy’s website tracybryan.com or email her at tracy@tracybryan.com

 

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A Special Thank You to Jonah Eric Mosher for being an invaluable resource and inspiration for this article!

To My Daughter: You are one of my main sources of inspiration behind all my work! Without your continual love, validation, and infinite wisdom of Sexual Diversity Studies, my passion would not be as meaningful!

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Thank you to the following websites that were used as resources:

(1) huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/dispelling-myths-misconceptions-and-lies-about-gender-nonconforming-children

(2) isna.org

(3) genderspectrum.org

(4) apa.org

(5) welcomingschools.org

(6) kidshealth.org

(7) ucdenver.edu

(8) tolerance.org

(9) internationalspectrum.umich.edu

(10) welcomingschools.org

(11) time.com

(12) transequality.org

For more information regarding these issues and more about Gender Diversity, please visit any one of these websites.

 

Paving A Mindful Path… written by Tracy Bryan

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I love the dynamics of people! I love how different people’s minds work. I love trying to understand why certain people feel and behave certain ways. However, I do not like how people judge. Judgment is something innately human-we all do it. We judge others and we judge ourselves.shutterstock_192555887

 Our judgments are frequently wrong and they’re waaayyyyy too often negative. How do these judgments, especially the negative ones, serve us? They don’t! They enslave us, as though these judgments are the smart ones and we work for them. But, it turns out that these judgments are filled with prejudices, based upon things we don’t fully understand. Many are based on hang-ups and past experiences that don’t speak to the open-minded individuals that we want to be.”*shutterstock_12874885

The ability to be aware of this judgment and stop ourselves when we are doing it, is quite a skill to master. It’s possible though, with practice! Aside from human instinct, why do we judge when we can’t understand something? Why are humans so ignorant sometimes?                                                          

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The most common reasons why we judge are jealousy, intolerance, prejudice, greed. Huh, these are not very attractive traits that all people have and are capable of. We are an interesting creature and our children are little versions of us. Maybe it’s time to give them an opportunity to become more open-minded, compassionate, kind and less judgmental than us. Absolutely it is! We better start teaching them then…

 

Most people judge themselves and others when they are afraid. shutterstock_264415961Fear of danger drives us to find some form of coping tool in almost every situation we are faced with. Fight, flight or freeze. If there is something or someone that we don’t really understand, we naturally feel threatened by this and we have to figure out why this is the way it is or why someone else is the way they are. There are some people who could care less about how others feel, but most people really just want to get along with others and be liked or loved.

 

We process everything around us with all our senses-every situation, every environment  and every person, judgment is part of this. When confronting a person that we don’t understand or a person that endangers our belief system, (mindset, values, social norms, etc.) we process by trying to find a way to understand this and them with thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, we judge.

Is there a way to curb this shutterstock_133717940judgmental mindset before we project it onto others?

 

“Taking a nonjudgmental stance puts us in control of our mind. It’s part of our mindfulness practice that allows us to view our thoughts objectively – not judging – just noticing. What this practice does is it trains us to control impulsivity and the downfalls of impulsive actions based upon our emotions – which stem from our thoughts.”*      shutterstock_257955776

 

So…processing leads to thoughts and feelings, which leads to impulsive actions. Being nonjudgmental is stopping to breathe mindfully, notice our surroundings, AND THEN responding. Instead of using judgment, we need to replace it with something else. Two of the core fundamentals of mindfulness- compassion and kindness are need here. These bring a positive outcome every time, instead of a negative and impulsive reaction.

It’s so difficult to have compassion and kindness for someone that hates us though isn’t it? Yes! Is hating them back or judging them really making things any better though? No! shutterstock_223639549-2Replacing judgment with compassion and kindness reminds us that this person is probably scared TOO and is trying to understand US. Even if they continue to be hateful to us, showing them compassion and kindness makes us feel better about our response and essentially makes us feel happier.

 

It’s nice to think that eventually this way of thinking will catch on and spread through the world. Particularly with regards to our kids. They aspire to be just like us, and if we can practice these simple tools of being mindful** with them, we may just create a more caring world for them.

 It’s nice to hope…shutterstock_136297694

 

 

Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 2-11. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, self-esteem, mindfulness and mental health. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone.

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 * http://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/blog/dbt-decoded-nonjudgmental-stance/

 

**“Being mindful means that we suspend judgment for a time, set aside our immediate goals for the future, and take in the present moment as it is rather than as we would like it to be.” ― Mark Williams, The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

What IN THE WORLD Is Going On With These Kids?

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Every week I try to direct my thinking and writing towards a specific topic. Considering that a lot of my writing involves feelings and issues that affect children, this is not that difficult to do- there are so many! As our world gets more technological and kids get buried deeper within their electronic devices, my work here is just beginning. The goal of my “mission” is to pull their heads back out into our world and encourage them to notice what is happening around them. My intentions are simple- inspire an awareness by captivating their interest with a message that hopes to entertain, educate and motivate! Not an easy task when I’m in opposition with the worlds of Nintendo, Instagram and Netflix! This seems like more of a battle than a task right? But then today something prompted me to don my armor…

I read an article called the Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today”* and this lit a spark underneath me! I decided to base my weekly topic and post from the information in this particular article and the comments that were evoked in me.

According to toptenz.net, here are the Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today:

Number 10- Single Parent Households

This is not news, kids have been growing up in one- parent families for decades. Since well before the 1980’s, divorce is not only prominent in our society, it’s a necessary alternative in certain situations. The scary statistic I got from the article is that, Today, 14 million single parents are responsible for 28 million children.’ Yikes! 6647977-56d29b8f5244d5e9ea0396f9546008d7A lot of kids raised in single parent homes grow up to be healthy, happy and well-adjusted adults, but there are still many that are lacking the proper economic, social and educational tools and skills that in the majority of cases are provided by two-parent homes. No judgement! I myself was raised by a single-parent and for the most part I think I turned out okay- I hope! Regardless of how many parents a child has, as long as they are fully loved, nurtured, educated and socialized, then everything else is bonus. I guess the key here is to always be able to offer any child extra tools and skills that they will need in life and then hopefully they will succeed just fine!

 

 

Number 9- Drug/Alcohol Abuse

Number 8- Growing Up To Fast

I think these two go hand in hand, because one really induces the other. Any child that is confronted with choices such as these is definitely in a situation where they are being forced to grow up too fast and vice versa. Maybe that’s too vague, however according to this article, “21% of high school seniors say they get high and 41% of the same group report drinking alcohol… Today, even at the earliest of ages, children are partaking in adult activities with serious consequences. Similar to what we see with alcohol and drugs, sex is a very popular and portrayed subject matter. The movies, TV, the internet, essentially everywhere a kid turns he or she is bombarded with sexual suggestions.”6652659-5c09ab0417c9eecef5175bdd1a4b78d8

I really have to agree with this article about sexual suggestions. Look at any music performer’s video and see the sex oozing from it. So what can be done? Ban kids from watching anything sexual or ‘helicopter’ their every move to protect them from any drugs or alcohol? How about just educating them about the negative outcomes of these influences and more so, teach them proper values to cultivate their self-esteem and awareness of who they want to be. Who do they want their role-models to be and who do they just like because they make great music?

 

Number 7- Violence In Schools

Now this is scary! There was a time when violence in schools happened only in the inner-cities…isn’t that why parents went to great lengths to move to the rural areas to raise their kids, to get away from this? Not anymore, so often we hear an increasing amount of stories about bullying, cyberbullying and shootings in6720547-786d295a90e0e74aacefd8df43775b5e the current news. This is happening everywhere-urban and rural areas, and that’s not even the gang-related violence! No wonder! Those same news channels cover war, rape, murder, discrimination, hate… “in the last decade 284 kids were murdered due to school violence – these were shootings, stabbings, fighting and suicides.” Yuck!

 

 

Number 6- Materialism

“We live in a society that promotes materialism and so we perpetuate this particular malady by instilling bad habits into our children. We teach our children that the measure of success and happiness in life is how much stuff you have. Kids naturally want things –especially if their friends have something similar. Unfortunately, there seems to be little restraint on accompanying guidance as we go about this.” Enough said. cover

 

Number 5- Obesity

I’ve written several books on this topic and themes that are related…It’s time to wake up and help these kids learn ways to deal with the issues that they are trying to soothe through food!

“20% of American children are obese.”6769120-20dde8a1e12b0d905dbd97d7b2f951a2

 

 

Number 4- Education Disparity

“Disparity in educational quality is delineated by race and financial status. If you live in a poor neighbourhood or are a minority, there is a good chance that the schools you attend are lacking many necessities. While Asians and Whites enjoy high graduating rates, African American and Latinos continue to lag behind. Not surprisingly, because job opportunities are lessen for dropouts, these two groups have the highest incarceration rates.” 6782741-e2d1f053347a7e2bbf75984c4094572dIronically, I had to look up the definition of disparity just to be sure- it means different. Wow! That explains so much! Here I am a writer and I didn’t know the definition of a word I’m writing about…I may have suffered some shame for that attribute about myself, except I’m not the least bit embarrassed that I needed to learn a new word…learning is important for growth and this is exactly why some areas of the world and their people are not advancing in their learning-shame from those that have the ability to teach, but use it towards judgement instead are really the ones who should be shamed! Encouragement and inspiration allows all people to learn because then they believe they are worth teaching. Kids need this, adults need this-everyone deserves this!

 

Number 3- Shifting Economy

Number 2- Poverty

6833353-f4e711de6f8bb21d1759c08c8d5f79c0I’m not going to get into these two political and economical topics too much because I believe a lot of the issues above are a direct cause of these issues. There will always be a strong adult influence over these sectors of our society as their obviously should be- nobody wants a child to run the world-or do we?

6833401-db9577c5503ff7769022c152d8c0c260Maybe that’s what we need! However, there is very little that we can do to motivate kids to want to change these world conditions, other than educate them and hope they want to make it a better place when they are adults. The one trend that is very refreshing to see more though, is that there continues to be child entrepreneurs emerging in all facets of the world’s industry. This is so great! You go little guys!

 

 

 

Number 1- National Pride

All kids should be able to feel proud of where they come from. Sadly, this isn’t always true. So…as long as each child is taught how to have self-pride, then hopefully they will naturally aspire to having pride for others and their surroundings. I think more importantly than just nationally, kids should feel a universal pride as well for all people, in all their diversity, everywhere in the world!6835370-24a59d0fefe3a0b3bb86a158667cfaf0

Tracy Bryan is a self-published author that specializes in writing whimsical

books about self-esteem, life skills, emotions, social issues and other such

topics for kids aged 4 to 11. Please visit Tracy’s website tracybryan.com or

email her at tracy@tracybryan.com

 

*Thank you to Lee Standberry who wrote Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today” on July 26th, 2015. Article from toptenz.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Again, Home Again…Jiggidy Jig!

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iStock_000061913368_FullI have officially been on holidays this past two and a half weeks, but now I’m home safe and sound. So, I thought this would be a fantastic time to write a post about my travels. I have ventured through several cities, spanning two countries as part of my journey and now that that I’m snuggled back in my comfort zone, I feel like sharing…iStock_000010969001_Large

 

It’s been difficult not to notice the dynamics of all the different groups of people that I’ve seen. Regardless of how random or public the interactions have been with all these diverse people, families and strangers- the children were consistently similar somehow. I saw quite a few kids of different shapes, colors and backgrounds.

I passed by kids with brown hair, blonde hair and no hair. I’ve glanced at kids with one parent, two parents, babysitters and nannies. I’ve witnessed kids smiling, laughing, crying and yelling. What I think is particularly interesting though, about all these different kids, is that they all seemed so very similar! They had that same cute miniature-people way about them that radiates innocence and enthusiasm. Even the yellers I’ve seen have yelled with zeal!

 

shutterstock_256103752Universally, kids have this awesome ability to restore the feeling of hope and promise about everything in life. Just look at their cherub-y little faces and you can always manage to see a brightness or glow that tends to be hidden in adults. Kids everywhere hold a unique energy within themselves and only the few of us who notice it can feel this energy.shutterstock_50643691

 

 

 

 

 

As I passed through the small towns in my travels, I saw many different types of children- some on holidays too and some local children who were just going about their daily life. If I happened to make eye contact with any of these kids, I could instantly feel an energy being transmitted from them to me. It starts as a little tickle in the belly and then spreads throughout the body. At this point, I would stop for a minutes to catch my breath and then just enjoy the happy energy that had passed through me. Better than any Starbucks drink, kid energy is consistently a rush to be enjoyed!dreamstime_xl_8048079

 

The only rule one must follow after attaining this little gift from children is to always, always, always pay it forward to someone else for them to enjoy-preferably to a child that has lost this feeling or could use a little happiness in their life!shutterstock_131262131

 

Next time you casually pass by a child…notice the light they hold within, notice the excitement and happiness that radiates from their face.

Most of all, notice how they are noticing you…smile at them-it will make their day! Happy Travels!

 

 

P.S. Home Again, Home Again Jiggidy Jig! was something that everyone in my family said after we arrived home from a family trip. It comes from the Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme “To Market To Market”! Kind of weird though because the first stanza is- To market, to market, to buy a fat pig, Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Who really wants to buy a fat pig? That’s my British lore upbringing for ya-LOL! 

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What Does Diversity Mean Anyways?

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If you’ve noticed that I haven’t been posting and writing that much about the diversity movement lately…it’s really because I’m still trying to wrap my head around the goals of the movement. What I mean is, what I once thought was an important intention for children everywhere, has somehow turned into a promotion of diversity in the authors instead of focus being placed on the diverse topics and content of the books. iStock_000030110728_LargeI saw a recent article posted on Facebook from the WNDB Movement; stating that “Diverse books are: Books anyone can enjoy. Books that are inclusive of the stories of all people across ethnicity, socio-economic, language, gender, sexuality, religion, race, difference in ability, including mental illness. Books that invite readers to learn new ideas and share experiences. Books that avoid stereotypes, and instead are authentic and research-based.”

Toddler girl pretends to read a book on white backgroundThis sounds wonderful in theory, but in reality, they aren’t really asking for books about diversity, but instead there is such an emphasis placed on who wrote the book and if the author is considered and defined as “diverse”. Why is there so much press about the need for diverse authors, I thought this was about the books! I continually see contests, awards and prompts specifically asking for authors of diversity…what does this mean? Are we all not diverse? Shouldn’t any author of any culture, gender, race and sexual orientation be welcome to write about these experiences and social issues/situations regardless of whether they actually do or have lived with that particular diversity? Aside from any contest, the problem here is that there is exclusion going on as well, just like anytime when you distance one group of people from another. I thought the priority here is to educate, inspire, motivate and inform children about diverse people, topics and lifestyles.

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My impression has always been that a diverse author is ANYONE that writes about diversity …this is why I am confused with the goals of the diverse books movement. I thought the idea was not to segregate and have certain people standout, but to bring together diverse people, topics, lifestyles and ideas and make them mainstream.

Six years old boy holding a pile of books. Isolated on white.

 

Isn’t bringing attention to a certain race, gender or culture causing us to set these people apart from the rest of everyone else? Isn’t this in a way segregation? What is this teaching the children…that certain people should get special priorities and be more celebrated because they are different and more unique than anyone else? I do not mean any disrespect to any group that has been underrepresented or not given opportunities in the past because of their race, gender or culture-this is wrong and I am ashamed of the way certain people in our society have believed themselves to be more supreme than any other…however, should we continue to segregate anyone who has been set aside in the past? That’s not making any positive changes.

Happy sweet little hispanic female child studying doing homework holding pink marker smiling in children education and back to school concept isolated on white background

Cute black african american little girl reading a book, isolated on white background - African people - ChildrenWhen do we start teaching our kids that everyone deserves a chance and everyone is just as diverse and special as everyone else? This is what I’ve been writing about in my books to children- that we have to try and NOT see each other differences, not judge other people by WHAT they are, but for who they are…people-all unique and yet very much the same!

 

We Need Diverse Books because children need to read about themselves, their families, friends, classmates, teachers, etc…lets start there and then we can educate, inspire, motivate and inform them about who wrote the books!

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Facebook…I love you, but I hate you!

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May 24, 2015

 

Hello! So much has changed in a week since I last posted…as I continue this uphill trudge towards broadening the children’s literature community with my diverse books, there seems to be only one central barrier in my way-Facebook. I love it…I hate it! I decided to take an ad out to promote my Facebook page and website. For five dollars per day, my ad circulates through Facebook cyberspace and hopefully reaches my targeted audience. So far, so good…in just three days, I have 1389 views on my page and 22 clicks on the link to my website. Plus, a couple more likes. I would say definitely well worth it!

 

The only down side…I obsessively keep checking back to see my promotion statistics- this brings me to my main page too. So, while I’m here, I figure I might as well check the status of my groups, make a post or two and then suddenly I’m caught in the vortex of Facebook time kill! It’s not that I don’t enjoy networking with fellow group-ees, commenting and sharing and such- it’s just that this is time that I really should be spending on writing! Not to mention how sore my back feels hunched over my computer all day…I do enough of this in my day-to-day writing.

 

This leads me to wonder WHY I’ve been spending so much time browsing through Facebook…Why? Mostly, I enjoy the communication, comradery and like-minded interaction with fellow writers! This is my cyber playground- my clubhouse, where me and my gang meet and share our stories, advice and casual friendship. I don’t think I want to give this up. I am beginning to create an important and supportive place where I can just be me-Tracy Bryan the Author.

 

But…too much of a good thing doesn’t seem to work with me-I’m not sure why I constantly need to overdo something that feels good or is fun! I don’t quite meet the criteria for addiction to Facebook, but I have been feeling those familiar triggers…just one more look, post, like, click…This really applies to anything that we do too much and honestly, I know better-moderation is rule in my life!

 

So, I won’t give up my Facebook, but I think I need to promise myself to notice how much time I’m spending in my clubhouse…just like everything else in life- we have to work hard to play hard.

Hi Ho Hi Ho!story

So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you!

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So, this is my first official website post!

Very exciting because I never would have imagined being a blogger (ooh-don’t like that word for some reason-how about poster?) Yup, so here I am posting my thoughts and feelings as Tracy Bryan Author.

There are so many exciting things currently going on in my little area of the writing world …where to start? “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.”(been dying to use that somewhere!) First off- posting! Amazing how things just seem to always work out. If it wasn’t for a letter that I submitted to Writeforkids.org asking how I could contribute to their efforts in the “Diversity Movement”, I never would have even considered that one week later I would be writing a post for them and another one on my web page.

Here’s how it went down…When I received an email asking to write a guest post on their web page, I was humbled, honored and excited. They wanted me to write something on the topic of diversity in children’s books and how writers can include more diversity in their work. Immediately I thought, that’s so cool. Then it struck me that it was time to put my money where my mouth is…I polled my Facebook writing groups to get an honest opinion about what my writing peers thought diversity actually was. Astounding how many comments I received back and answers that reflected such genuine support of the idea of diversity. This inspired me and although my post was mostly written at this point, I saw this as a sign of hope for future advocacy on this subject with my peers.

Then I started to receive some- let’s call them inklings of fear- about my goals with regards to this subject. What did I really want to accomplish here? Why was I so attracted to this diversity movement within the children’s lit world? How come I felt and continue to feel this passion to write books for kids that make most people feel uncomfortable reading them. (By most people I mean adults- we are the ones who place stigmas on these topics, not kids.) So why do I want to upset the anthill? Someone has to. No, I really mean that- it’s about time!

I’ve mentioned this more than once in the last couple days…as kid’s lives become more diverse, so does their need to have more books on diversity. A need because this is our chance, through diverse books, to teach them that everyone and everything that is important in their life-however different from the rest- is awesome and they should celebrate their diversity!

My mission has only began, but two posts later I feel like I have achieved a little success towards my goal and despite a few odd glances (when I mention that I am a children’s book author and I write about diverse topics) I think my pursuit of finding an answer to why I am doing this is simply…for the kids.

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a few words from tracy…

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