As Hildare says, SEX IS NOT GENDER.
Sex is genitalia. There are more than two sexes. Sex, like gender, is a spectrum. Many children are intersex at birth, and then some doctor makes an arbitrary call on the sex of the child and sometimes performs surgery. This is not all that uncommon. Many children are raised as "girls", only to find out at puberty that - wait... there's a penis. Or vice versa. How small does a penis have to be in order for a little "boy" to be a little "girl". Doctors are often faced with that (often arbitrary) decision. Imagine the confusion, the pain... for everyone involved. And, not because their body necessarily causes them pain, or because there is anything inherently wrong with it, but because of social stigma. So, yeah, I caution parents who think that gender theory doesn't apply to their kids. It might.
- An estimation of 1/100 people have bodies that don't conform to "male" or "female" stereotypes. So for every other person diagnosed with autism (1/500), there is someone whose natural, born body doesn't fit our societal notion of "male" or "female".
- An estimation of 1-2/1000 people receive surgery to “normalize” genital appearance.
I believe that it's incredibly unfortunate, that with this many intersex people, not to mention all the queer/trans people who are out, that we're performing surgeries on people to have them conform to gender binary stereotypes.
I think that when people decide that gender-neutrality in parenting is "ridiculous", it's a direct result of society's standards for boy/girl, male/female sex/gender binaries. Not all cultures have functioned this way. Many Native American (and other indigenous) tribes honored the gender/sex spectrum as a facet to their spirituality. Our need to label our children is purely a construct of society.
Yes, there are the many effects of hormones that often (not always) coincide with genitalia. Sometimes our children's' genitalia can give us insight into the chemicals that might be buzzing in their bodies. BUT many men can lactate and many women can ejaculate, and many of these hormones intersect, overlap, and exist in different quantities, regardless of body shape/type.
A parent doesn't have to know that a child will identify as trans to make gender-neutral care the right choice for them. These parents stand by their choices based on their insight into the science and politics of sex/gender.
This isn't simply about blue and pink, kitchens and trucks. This is about bodies and the fact that gender/sex is a spectrum. A healthy child can have "male" and "female" genitalia. A healthy child knows that they will be loved unconditionally and without bias, regardless of their bodies, gender choices and presentations as they grow up.
Suicide rates, depression statistics and oppressive legislation will not change until parents stop berating each other for challenging gender and sex stereotypes.
Parents that insist on the necessity of choosing "he" or "she" pronouns for everyone's children are pushing their own agenda, which was handed to them by a very harmful convention.
Perpetuating the status quo is harmful to everyone, and deadly to many. Kudos to them for challenging it. We should be thankful for them. Our future, and that of our gender-transcendent children will be better for this kind of learning and thinking. Lucky kids.
Some Intersex Statistics - http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency
Genderqueer and Androgynous Pronouns - http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gender%20neutral%20pronoun
Edited by habitat - 5/24/11 at 10:14am