Bad Liberal Parenting: Raising A Gender-Bending Kid
I find it troublesome when parents withhold information from their children because of their own prejudice. Mary Pierre-Louise is one of those parents who is so prejudice with natural gender that she has chosen to keep her children in the dark about things she disagrees with like calling a male a ‘he’ or calling a female a ‘she’.: But as Mary says : ‘Gender bending the hell’ out of your child can be a lot of fun.
When I got pregnant, my partner and I knew we wanted to be thoughtful about the ways we helped our kids construct their gender and the way they viewed gender in general. Whatever sex our baby was born, we had every intentions of gender-bending the hell out of it.
We never planned on not teaching our son gender pronouns, it just happened. Once he started trying to talk and would point to a random person on the street with a question mark on his face, we’d say, “Oh, that’s a person”, as opposed to, “that’s a man/woman or girl/boy”.
At two and a half the terms: his, her, he, she, woman, man, girl, boy are not part of his vocabulary. At first I wasn’t sure if it would make a real difference in his gender understanding. But recently, I’ve started realizing that long term, it may have a profound impact. He is currently at the stage in his gender development where he would be categorizing people in his life as boys or girls. While he may perceive a difference between the sexes based on the sounds of voices or faces, he doesn’t label them. In fact, he doesn’t categorize anything based on gender. While the long term implications of this are yet to be seen, I think (hope) at the very least, it’ll make him a kid who sees people first, before their gender, and who can eventually more easily accept the fact that gender and sexuality both exist on a spectrum. And that that gives him permission to exist wherever he chooses to within it.
However you look at it, purposefully confusing a child by NOT TEACHING him is only disabling: him in society. I use to have friends who were from Ecuador who purposefully didn’t teach their children Spanish. They were so proud when they went back to visit family showing how Americanized they were because their children didn’t understand Spanish. The pride of your culture shouldn’t be so great that you treat your child like a trained pony so you can parade them around to your friends as proof of your beliefs. Unless you’re having a child to be a showpiece for your prejudice and a showpiece for the next GLBT pride parade. Then parade on, mom!