Originally Posted by macandcheese
To add to the discussion on gender identity, here's a pretty cool clip from National Geographic that profiles the Bugis of Indonesia, who have five established and accepted genders:
FWIW, my child clearly has male genitalia and we are raising him as a boy, but we don't place any expectations on his gender. He's got boy, girl, and gender non-specific clothes, toys, books, etc., and we hope this helps to mitigate any cultural/societal expectations about his gender performance.
Cool clip! I love learning about this stuff.
Originally Posted by kathymuggle
First off - I really do need to reread this thread because many of the ideas are new to me.
That being said - I do not think they are obliged to reveal the sex. I just think revealing it in some circumstances may be better than hiding it. Hiding things is not usually good. There is a line between hiding and not revealing - and as long as they stay in "you know this is none of your business and should not affect things" and does not delve into drawing attention to the matter through secretiveness, fine. Sometimes being super secretive actually draws more attention to an issue than it warrants. Of course that is not their fault -but it is how society works and it is their child, and it would concern me.
I think we all to some extent make our children stand out through our choices. Johnny does not eat sugar, Johnny does not watch tv, Johnny does not go to school....Whenever we make our kids stand out through our choices we better be sure that what we are doing it for is really in their best interest. I imagine the parents believe the pros of not revealing the childs sex outweigh the negatives. I would not make the same call - but I am not Storms parents.
This especially rings true for me. I do get frustrated when people call seemingly new (to them) choices "experiments". I feel that it's an effort to legitimize an otherwise perfectly fine parenting choice that just makes you have to think differently than you are comfortable with. In reality, parents are making all kinds of important (albeit, more socially-palatable) choices for their kids. And really, not choosing your child's gender is something that will be over once they are able to articulate how they feel about it. It's a choice that will be made, and maybe many times over.
Originally Posted by Sourire
It is unfortunate that the choice to raise a gender neutral child is much more "fringe" than the choice to raise a super girly girl who must always wear pink because I think both of these choices are equally extreme and parents who make the two choices should be treated in the same way!
I think that when we consider where we are on the spectrum, we have to go beyond what's culturally appropriate. Our every-day world is small. If I only heard people count up to 10 over and over again, the number 11 or 15 seem outlandish. Know what I mean? In our culture, we're just so used to confining ourselves and each other in terms of a hard-lined gender binary, but that's not the case everywhere in the world, and everywhere throughout history. When you open up to the idea that there's more to the spectrum than we're used to, and that the spectrum isn't linear, maybe allowing your child to choose their gender identity really no longer appears all that "extreme". It's not a pole of some finite line. In our culture, sure. But inherently? No.
I do agree, however, that pretty extreme, oppressive views of gender tend to be accepted without qualm, because they appear more frequently on our radar. People are more comfortable with sex and gender oppression than they are with sex and gender liberty. That's just the society we live in, unfortunately, but I don't intend to succumb to it. I intend to stand up against it.
Originally Posted by serenbat
it was my DH that would not tell anyone what the sex was prior to birth and it is he that will not correct a stranger (I am more likely too and most times they are not paying attention anyway!!!) - it was my DH that requested gender neutral items and really is pushing this ------- he hates the way males are treated in US society.
That's amazing of your DH. I definitely feel that men and boys (and, therefore, all assumed male-bodied people) tend to be deprived of the kind of nurturing and support that all children and people deserve, and that is an act of violence. As a feminist, I also strongly believe that people of all sexes/genders are effected by this as this cycle of violence is perpetuated, largely by cis men, who are often privileged in terms of power and under-nourished in terms of physical familial affection, understanding and love. Cis men need to use their privileges to speak up and act out against patriarchy and oppression, as opposed to taking their taught-aggressions out on those who have less power than they do, or else the cycle of violence will continue.
For the record:
I am not opposed, by any means, to raising children as "girls" or "boys", according to their female/male birth-genitalia IF we are ready to be open or accepting and unconditionally supportive of their child's potential queer/trans presentations or identities in the future. I respect the parents' choice in early childhood. Especially since it can be so hard to face question after question. I have many a radical friend who has chosen to do so, while still actively working against the status quo and gender binary, and having real, productive conversations about the challenges and oppressions that come with that binary. As of yet, I have not made a decision as to whether I will give my child(ren) the pronouns that their genitalia would imply, although I am leaning towards creating an affectionate, one-syllable nick-name/pronoun for my child and asking my family and community members to use it when refering to them.