Human biology can be a tricky subject. It takes the world of the abstract, with its nondescript cells, mRNA, membrane structures, etc., and puts it into the context of the human experience. Trisomy 21 is no longer a factoid to be remembered, but rather a group of real individuals who have the same feelings and desires as the rest of us. Alzheimer’s starts as a study of neurobiology, but can grow to encompass the difficulties of being a caregiver. While melanocytes may give your skin pigment, the amount of that pigment has had a profound impact on human history that continues today.
It is in this spirit that I share this TED Talk from Geena Rocero. Geena was born biologically male, but she identified as a female. She describes her experiences as a trans woman in this video. What better way to start a discussion on gender identity than to hear a story from this brave woman.
Topics relevant to this video are:
- Sex vs. gender
- Gender identity
- Gender changes in the biological world
- Fluidity of human gender and sexuality
Some may say that a video like this is more about social issues and better suited to a humanities classroom. I wholeheartedly disagree. Whenever you can engage with a student on an important subject that is directly related to the curriculum, especially one receiving so much current attention in the media, we as educators have an obligation to explore that topic. We can dispel rumors and create understanding. We may even have trans students in our classrooms that are struggling with their identity. By treating the subject fairly and with compassion, you can go a long way to spreading awareness and open-mindedness.