Embracing Breaking Away From the Gender Construct


If I compared ballet to a religion, it would probably be Catholicism.

It is almost as dry as those communion wafers we still use: rigid, cold and above all else heavily based upon tradition.

This semester, Boston Conservatory at Berklee (BoCo) changed several of its dance classes to now start with the qualifier “Constructed Gender Identities in Classical Ballet.”

These courses will take precedence over what are traditionally women and men’s variation classes and allow for all students regardless of how they identify to have access to these classes.

Knowing all too well of the strict and unshakable foundation ballet was built upon, I was slightly prepared for a throng of angry pitchforks and cries of heresy upon hearing of this change.

While there hasn’t yet been rioting to that degree, in my personal dance life, I have heard of some dancers who think the change is “different,” to say the least.

Even though I identify with the gender given to me at birth, I appreciate BoCo for going against both ballet and gender norms.

The type of support Boco gives to students to foster an environment of inclusivity helped me to better understand some of the privileges I have solely by choosing to identify as my sex.

I was inspired to research what resources are available in school settings. In my search, I have found close to nothing besides emotional support.

When speaking to the president of the of Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), Wesley Rhodes, junior, agreed the staff and administrators provide more than enough emotional support, but Rhodes would like to see themselves reflected in the curriculum.

I think this is a rather simple solution.

We need to update the curriculum, like BoCo has to fit the needs of not only some but all of our students. We can start by introducing books about kids who question their gender. One book I have found particularly interesting is Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin.

The young adult fiction novel explores how a young teen explores gender identity and fluidity in a way so the reader never knows the birth gender of the main character.

I think some parents and students don’t fully understand why people don’t identify with the gender binary or their cisgender. This allows for them, to can become judgmental or fearful about making this addition to the curriculum.

Which is all the more reason we need to make this addition. Education is vital to understanding one’s self and others around you.

We don’t live in a world where everyone’s the same. Portraying that we are in the curriculum is equivalent to may I say, a sin.