June is Pride Month. June is also the month most high schools around the country have their graduation ceremonies. There is an intersection between these two events that might slip past the awareness of many people: How schools treat gender non-conforming students.
When we teach boys that there are “boy’s toys” and “girl’s toys,” and that they ought to complain if they get the wrong one, we teach them gender-based entitlement. When we teach girls that it’s okay to play with toys designed for boys and to dress in clothes designed for boys, but we teach boys that it’s wrong for them to wear dresses or play with “girl’s toys,” we erase girls from social relevance. Ultimately, it becomes easier for companies to just make what boys and men are willing to use, because girls and women will be willing to use them, too.
"I hear the statement “Boys will be boys” far too often. When my son is misbehaving and I’m trying to help him understand why his behavior is not acceptable, another parent might chime in with the statement. As a feminist and an attachment parent, I find the statement and its partner (“You know how boys are.”) to be among the worst things we can say to or about a boy. It’s fatalistic. It implies that boys are inherently problematic. Sometimes it’s said about something minor and silly; sometimes it’s said about something major. But it’s always said to casually dismiss inappropriate behavior."