Gender Diversity and Inclusivity in Music

January 20, 2021 Barbie Wong

My child Aris came out as transgender when they were 10 years old. Back then, I did not know what that meant, and even less about how to raise a transgender child. I knew how to raise a musical child, but soon I would also learn about gender diversity. My child is now almost 13 and this journey has been quite a ride so far.

Last month, I wrote an article for the American Suzuki Journal with a friend and fellow Suzuki music teacher Katie Perry. Like me, Katie has a transgender child and we have supported one another the past few years as parents navigating this unknown world. We discovered many things, one of which is that there has been little attention given to gender diversity in the Suzuki community. We decided to share what we learned as parents and music educators so that others in the community and beyond can learn about gender diversity and how to make the world more inclusive and supportive for gender diverse folks. The founder of the Suzuki Method, Shinichi Suzuki, encouraged parents and teachers to focus on a child’s “character first” and to support their development as a whole. This foundation principle paved the way for our article.

Below is a reprint of our article. Here is a pdf of the article.