The American Youth Circus Organization has a Youth Advisory Committee and they have put together an incredibly useful resource which will be the go-to document for generations of forward-thinking circus educators to come. It’s called Gender and Circus Coaching: Basic Guidelines for Circus Coaches and Mentors.
The committee statement to the public reads, “Societal acceptance of all gender identities and expressions is a very important issue for our generation. We believe it is especially important in the circus world, since circus has traditionally welcomed members of society who live a little differently than the majority. Circus is for everyone!”
AYCO feels it is important to learn about language, stereotypes, identities and how to support your circus students, whatever their gender!
In addition to practical advice, such as how to avoid ascribing gendered praise such as “Beautiful!” and “Strong!” to gender roles, and how to apologize when accidentally misgendering someone, there is more comprehensive advice about big issues such as how to subvert stereotypes in circus disciplines. This brief document could easily be added to any educator handbook or training session and is a welcome and progressive message from the circus youth of today.
Photo courtesy of Circus Runaway Photography. Young artists from SANCA in Seattle perform at the 2017 American Youth Circus Festival.