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Jenrose Posts


Realizations that made life easier this year. I don’t have to want what society tells me that people it thinks I’m like should want. It sucked being young, thin, and “pretty/passing” and while it is tiring being middle aged, fat, and disabled, a lot of…

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Understanding Gender: A Guide for Kids


When a baby is born, the first thing everyone wants to know is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Even during pregnancy, parents often have an ultrasound scan, to look at a baby’s body and find out whether their baby has “boy parts” or “girl parts” before the child is born.

But what defines “boy” or “girl” doesn’t have a lot to do with the parts people have. Different groups of people define what it means to be male or female in many different ways. And people get messages from a lot of places about what it means to be male or female. The very idea that there are only male and female to choose from is not the same everywhere. Some cultures expect there to be three, five, or even more genders.

So what happens when someone tells you “boys are like this” or “girls are like that?” and “this and that” don’t seem to match up well to who you are? There are a lot of different ways that people respond to this feeling.

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Creating a Safe and Welcoming School Environment

For All Students, Including Trans and Nonbinary Kids


Gender is something that traditionally has been taught in very simple ways. Penis means boy. Vulva means girl. Men are taller and stronger. Women are curvier and can get pregnant. People can be either male or female.

When someone who does not fit these rules joins or reveals themself to a group that has been taught these rules from early childhood, it creates a fundamental friction for some people, which essentially boils down to a feeling that, “This isn’t right, this person isn’t following the rules.”

But the rules are wrong. Gender is not simple. Gender is a social construct. So is binary sex. Physical sexual characteristics can run such a huge gamut that there is often as much variation within a “sex” as there is between sexes. There are many individuals who simply do not have bodies that line up well with our basic assumption that XY means male with penis and scrotum and XX means female with vagina and uterus and breasts. Chromosome variations exist, ranging from Turner’s Syndrome (single X) to almost any variation of XXY, XYY and other duplications. Androgen resistance can make someone with XY chromosomes appear female by normative standards. Some babies are born with truly ambiguous genitalia, which in the past has been “treated” with surgical gender reassignment at birth, though the thinking on that is changing and many parents are deciding to let children decide later.

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He believes he can fly

I was a little surprised by the depth and breadth of my four year old’s delight at the blue and lime track suit my mother bought for him. He gasped. “It’s everything I ever wanted.” I was bemused and confused, and called my mother. “Tell Grandma what…

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Rule Number One

We need to talk. I know we’ve probably not met and we’ve never said word one to each other online because I filter the hell out of my Facebook and you probably don’t go to Tumblr because it’s incomprehensible and I usually don’t get into…

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Writing advice

So I’ve been delving into the strange world of Tumblr. I said for years I didn’t understand it. Then I got into the Merlin fandom, started poking around, realized that no one understood Tumblr, and started using it a lot. So this floated across my…

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Generation WiFi

I’d call this kids born in the 20 years following 9/11 Currently ranging from 0-15 years old, these kids have an unprecedented access to technology even across a wide variety of demographics, wireless, cordless and intuitive. Many of them are competent at navigating a tablet and…

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Parents as researchers

In response to this article because I get Shiny’s story out when I can in hopes that it will give other parents the oomph to look past what they’re told: I am the mother of a child with a rare chromosome deletion. Watching her…

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Gandalf for President

I was sort of absently ruminating about how a guy who bears more than a passing resemblance to my grandfather is managing to fire people up so much. Them I realized. He’s filling the same ecological niche as Gandalf, Merlin, and Dumbledore. He’s spent every…

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Getting our house in order: the false competition between the homeless and the refugees.

I’m seeing a whole lotta nonsense out there about how it is morally reprehensible to go offering help to refugees when we have so many homeless. Leave aside that the people bitching the loudest are also the same people who tell us not to give to the poor because it “enables them” to buy booze or whatever they deem unworthy of the “lower classes”. Also probably the same people trying to cut food stamps and whatnot. Let’s just say the credibility of people who say, “but but but HOMELESS VETS” or “HUNGRY CHILDREN” is not high with me because I suspect they care very little for either, truly.

The fact of the matter is that if we got our shit together and did the things that science and research and public policy data say are the most effective at caring for people, we could actually solve a whole bunch of problems and spend less money than we spend now.

I’m not exaggerating. I’m not making shit up here. This is well supported by data. Continue reading Getting our house in order: the false competition between the homeless and the refugees.

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Today’s visit

Today, the President of the United States flew into the city I call home, and then took a helicopter to the place I’m from. One of the places. I often say I spent my childhood in Michigan and grew up in Roseburg, as the line…

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