How did you decide about finding out the sex? (especially if you are genderqueer / trans or in that community) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hi all - our level II anatomy scan is this week (DP is at about 21 weeks). We have been very resolute that we aren't finding out the sex, ad didn't peek at the first 18 week anatomy scan, but now we are wavering a bit. Our reasons for not finding out are because the surprise would be fun and because DP herself is somewhere on the genderqueer spectrum, we consider ourselves part of communities where many folks are GC or trans and have fluid notions of gender, and we have been taken aback by how most people's first question to us is about the sex and we are worried that if we find out, our families etc will go crazy with the pink or blue stuff. And, I guess, since we try to not impose too many gender norms/boundaries on ourselves, it feels sort of funny to find out and then spend the second half of the pregnancy imagining our son/daughter a certain gendered way (or knowing that others will). We have been amazed by folks saying to us - "you need to find out so you can "PLAN" - which feels so funny to us since we don't know how a tiny infant's sex impacts planning that much...
Our reasons for wanting to find out are....that we are so curious, and also that if its a boy we need to do some preparing for breaking the news to our Jewish families that we may not circumcise (haven't decided yet but this is going to be a big decision that needs some thought and processing and dealing with our families...would be great to skip over it for now if this first child is a girl...). Also, we do know that it is of course possible to know the sex and to still not impose too many gendered expectations on the baby...obviously. And on the flip side, once the baby is born, all the pink/blue stuff will come out from our families and family friends anyway.
Anyway, I hope this all came out ok (I am in a rush so its not as nuanced or articulate as I meant for it to be...I know that these gender issues are really complicated etc)...and would love to hear how you made the decision in the context of your queer / genderqueer lives, if this applies.
thanks!!
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#2 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 12:14 PM
 
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hi all - our level II anatomy scan is this week (DP is at about 21 weeks). We have been very resolute that we aren't finding out the sex, ad didn't peek at the first 18 week anatomy scan, but now we are wavering a bit. Our reasons for not finding out are because the surprise would be fun and because DP herself is somewhere on the genderqueer spectrum, we consider ourselves part of communities where many folks are GC or trans and have fluid notions of gender, and we have been taken aback by how most people's first question to us is about the sex and we are worried that if we find out, our families etc will go crazy with the pink or blue stuff. And, I guess, since we try to not impose too many gender norms/boundaries on ourselves, it feels sort of funny to find out and then spend the second half of the pregnancy imagining our son/daughter a certain gendered way (or knowing that others will). We have been amazed by folks saying to us - "you need to find out so you can "PLAN" - which feels so funny to us since we don't know how a tiny infant's sex impacts planning that much...
Our reasons for wanting to find out are....that we are so curious, and also that if its a boy we need to do some preparing for breaking the news to our Jewish families that we may not circumcise (haven't decided yet but this is going to be a big decision that needs some thought and processing and dealing with our families...would be great to skip over it for now if this first child is a girl...). Also, we do know that it is of course possible to know the sex and to still not impose too many gendered expectations on the baby...obviously. And on the flip side, once the baby is born, all the pink/blue stuff will come out from our families and family friends anyway.
Anyway, I hope this all came out ok (I am in a rush so its not as nuanced or articulate as I meant for it to be...I know that these gender issues are really complicated etc)...and would love to hear how you made the decision in the context of your queer / genderqueer lives, if this applies.
thanks!!
this is precisely why we have chosen not to find out the baby's sex... because ultimatley it may have nothing to do with the baby's gender! however, we are curious so i can totally understand wanting to find out for that reason. and while i can't relate, really, about the not circ'ing/jewish thing, i can relate about the worry of telling our parents/family/friends that we don't plan on cutting our baby's genitalia if it is a boy. i'm sure they will be more than opinionated about our decision...
so my advice to you is to do what feels right. maybe find out the sex and keep it a secret. maybe discuss with your family your [possible] decision about preserving your childs genitalia for them to make the decision when they are old enough, whether or not you are having a boy. best of luck with your decisions in all of this... and enjoy the scan, no matter what!

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#3 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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We considered not finding out our son's sex for all the reasons you give. However, in the end the desire to see him and know him as soon and as thoroughly as possible won out and we did find out. Also, his sex was hard to miss on the ultrasound screen so we might have known anyway unless we'd not watched the scan.

I felt that no matter what the baby's sex, its eventual gender would be nuanced and unknowable for some time. I am someone who wants my relationship with my child(ren) to be based on their reality and to nurture their own voice(s) as much as possible. It is important to me not to "speak in baby's voice" (e.g. no notes to grandma written from the baby's perspective and signed in the baby's name), and I carefully attempt not to infer more mature thought processes than are really going on (e.g. I try not to assume thoughts like "I love my mommy" in a baby who can't understand language yet). At the same time, I try to be really attuned to what *is* going on with the baby and to notice his subtle responses and communication. For me, knowing his sex is part of knowing my baby. Not because it lets me dress him up in blue or because I assume he will like "boy things" or even because I can be certain he will grow up feeling male--we try not to assume these things and to watch for his cues about how he experiences his gender--but because it is an important part of what is/will shape his personhood in a yet-unknown way. So I wanted to find out.

We've struggled mildly with issues of how to dress the baby. He wears lots of gender-neutral things, some "boy clothes" but nothing agressively so, and some clothes on the girlier end of neutral, like lavender or light pink colors without ruffles, or striped tights in bright colors other than pink and purple.
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#4 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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#5 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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we chose not to find out with ds1 partly because i wanted that ultimate surprise and partly because it's my family tradition to wait to find out. dp was a little antsy in the beginning but then declared baby was a boy and stuck by her choice throughout our pregnancy, lol, and of course she was right!

while it didn't matter to me not to find out, my goodness did it upset everyone else!! i was quite amazed but then i suppose american society is used to getting what it wants RIGHT NOW! i loved being able to say "it's a boy" when ds1 was born.

for ds2 dp wanted to know and i honoured her decision. we both felt very strongly at about 5 weeks pregnant that it was another boy and we were right again.

oh and i suppose i should mention that i carried ds1 and dp carried ds2.

i much preferred waiting to find out. it was so amazing to be pushing and knowing in a few minutes we would know if we had a son or daughter - of course once he was out and i was in awe of this new person on my chest, i completely forgot to look!

dp will be carrying baby #3 and wants to find out again but i may try and convince her to wait.

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#6 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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My partner didn't want to find out, nor could we in our region (unless you pay for a private u/s) so we didn't. By policy, the Health Authority wouldn't reveal what the genital area shows, but anyone can go to a private u/s clinic and have a scan done there if they really wanted to.
My partner is trans/genderqueer, and we were both set on staying as gender neutral as possible with our expectations.
We were given a lot of green and yellow and orange items while pregnant. But as soon as our dd was born, the pink started coming in deluges. So much for that.
We're starting the process to get pregnant again, and I'm leaning toward finding out, in order to help prepare DD for her sibling. We're in a different Health Authority now, where you can find out if you request to.
But it's such an awesome surprise, I doubt we'll find out. I'll never forget DP bawling her eyes out while the midwife resuscitated DD (cord injury during delivery) "It's a girl! Is she okay? It's a girl! A girl! I was right! Is she okay?" And then my genderqueer DP went out and bought her the pinkest preemie onesie she could find, because none of the NB clothes we had fit.

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#7 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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We chose not to find out for a lot of the reasons that have been mentioned here. I wanted to hold at bay (to some extent) my own projections about my child's gender and I didn't want to deal with other's projections about my child's gender until he was born. Also, I really wanted gender neutral clothing to start things out. We told family/friends that we were open to all hand me downs. As a result we had lots of great pink nightgowns and blue nightgowns along with the white/yellow/green ones. I loved it. I also loved finding out that he was a boy on the day he was born. It was the best surprise of my entire life so far. (And would have been if he had been a girl.) My partner wanted to find out but agreed to wait since I felt strongly about it. She later said that it was absolutely awesome to have waited. We got all positive feedback about our choice to wait even though all the other family members find out about their child's gender during pregnancy and share it (with the exception of one born 11 years ago in India where it wasn't allowed). People constantly told us how wonderful it was that we were waiting and how more people should and how fun it would be to find out at the birth. Since we continue to get hand me downs, we mostly have all "boy"ish clothing now but he has pink diapers and flowered diapers along with the blue, green, etc diapers (purchased on purpose by his moms). He has a pink sleep sack in part b/c it was the only one in his size and he has pink shoes for the same reason. My partner and I strongly believe that all colors are for all people and that recycle/reuse trumps color. At the same time I am aware of walking a line. I want my child to feel that we encouraged him to be inclusive and not to limit himself in his preferences and to question socially imposed gender rules. But we wouldn't want him to feel burdened by our expectations that he be gender transgressive, either. We also probably wouldn't put him in a lacy dress - unless he was older and asked for it. As he begins to get older and express preferences, we will engage him in conversation around them and generally allow them whenever possible. We are not Jewish so we didn't have a religious/cultural tradition component to the decision around circumcision. All of the men/boys on one side of the family have been circumsized and none of the boys on the other side. We told everyone that we wouldn't be circumsizing and noone said anything negative (though we have a pretty polite family on the side that might have had feelings about it).

As with most things, I think you should do whatever feels right for you but we loved not knowing. As part of our birth plan, we made it clear that my partner would announce the sex of the baby. I love remembering her telling me that we had a son.
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#8 of 22 Old 10-04-2010, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for sharing these thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it. It is good to hear that the surprise on the day of the birth is wonderful; but also that for those who found out ahead of time it helped you to feel close to the baby (something I think about a lot since I am the non gestational parent). the scan is not till friday so we have a few more days to decide!!!
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#9 of 22 Old 10-05-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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I suppose my thinking is a little different because there will always be the practice of what you and your partner prescribe to and that of the larger world. What I mean is that there a whole lot of other people who are also likely invested in this child and they're going to interact and expose your child to their frames of reference, which are likely to be gendered, regardless of the wishes you and your partner have. It's been our experience as much as we've tried to create an understanding with our families about the norms and values we're trying to create for our children, and they do it with the best of intentions, they often negate these wishes.

I think that the other complicating factor is that our children grow up in a very gendered world and do have notions of gender from a very early age - some of which is learned and some of which is innate. For example, I cannot count the number of parents who have boys, who early on identify as male, and pick up toys that they turn into guns and embark upon "typical" boyhood play without the parents having exposed their kids to guns or other "boy" types of play.

I think as much as we try to not to equate sex with gender, more often than not because the world tends to thins in binary ways, it just happens. What we can do, in my opinion, is to teach our kids to be critical thinkers as they grow and to expose them to a whole bunch of options, opinions, and world views.

For example, we never assumed that our children would be heterosexual. We also talked about them growing up and having boyfriends and girlfriends. Our daughter now identifies as bisexual. Our son recently came out as heterosexual (and up until the age of 12 he often would refer to "when he got married to either a girl or boy"). It's pretty fluid in our house and they know they can change their minds at any time. I think because we created an environment for exploration, they were pretty open to options (and these are children that we adopted at the age of 11 and 9 after having grown up in a mormon household). I could infer that this would apply to gender, too.

With the baby on the way, we're going to find out the sex. DW and I don't care about the sex. Our daughter doesn't either. It matters only to our son and it matters very much to him. He feels that there are too many girls in the house and a little brother would balance things out. So we'll find out the sex for him. And, we'll wait to see how their future sibling identifies their gender.

DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#10 of 22 Old 10-10-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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i was really glad we found out. it was wonderful to connect with the pregnancy of my daughter and i was glad to retire the pronoun "it"!
Sarah, you don't need to use the word "it" to refer to a person who's sex or gender you don't know. In fact, many people find it insulting. There are many alternative pronouns one can use such as ze/hir or them/their.


My partner and I decided not to find out because, ultimately, the sex of the child is not important to us. When people ask us what we are having, we tell them we are having a baby. We may not even reveal the child's sex after ze is born. We have picked a gender-neutral name as well, and the kiddo can choose to wear whatever they want when they're old enough. As it is, ze will more than likely be dressed in "girly" clothes since that is most of what has been handed down to us. We thought about doing this even before our older child came out as transgender, as we're both involved in trans rights and have lots of gender variant, androgynous, transgender, and intersex friends and loved ones. We believe that no one has the right to impose gender on a child based on what is between their legs. The kid can figure their out on their own. Not to say that we'll execute this perfectly by any means! LOL

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#11 of 22 Old 10-11-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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Sarah, you don't need to use the word "it" to refer to a person who's sex or gender you don't know. In fact, many people find it insulting. There are many alternative pronouns one can use such as ze/hir or them/their.

Erthe: I had a long response typed out to this, but I deleted it. I'm not going to post it and escalate the discussion. I'll just say this comment struck me as a bit condescending and insulting.

So, citygirl, what did you decide??

 

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#12 of 22 Old 10-11-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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oh, and for our twins-on-the-way, the decision was even easier - we had enough surprises already!


Same here LOL.

After we found out however, we DID get alot of pink... so we are trying to even things out with "the rest" of what we will get. We made a yellow and blue room also, with a theme of turtles and it would have been the same for either genders.

I think it is a question of balance and to try not to "expect" a certain gender or certain likes and dislikes based on a few folds of skin... and helping our families and friends do so as well !

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#13 of 22 Old 10-11-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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My DP and I had a lot of arguments about this when I was pregnant. I really really really did NOT want to be told the sex of our baby and he really really did. Which surprised me since he is a transguy and has been genderqueer since like age 2 and is very sensitive to 'society' reading his gender in certain ways and treating him based on however they read him. But he really really wanted to know..... I think mainly because he hates waiting. He wanted to know now, since we could.

We didn't end up finding out the sex. I promised him that he could make the decision about baby#2 but it was extremely important to me that we not find not, for several reasons:
1) I really resented the fact that so many people insinuated that we needed to know in order to properly plan for the baby. Being able to find out the sex in utero is a very recent thing. Just because we *can* find out the sex, doesn't mean its always a "good" thing. I LOVED growing my baby inside me and wondering about what kind of person they were going to be and I think it would have altered how I thought about her if I had known she was a her.
2) We had a really difficult journey to get pregnant (finally conceived through FET) that involved a lot of blood tests, procedures, physical and emotional pain, and it was really important to me that the pregnancy be as low-tech and "traditional" as possible. Conceiving through ART greatly challenged my own sense of being a woman and it was super important to me that I have a pregnancy that didn't reflect all that medical crap. Knowing the baby's sex just seemed to tie into all that technology stuff.
3) I didn't want all the gendered stuff to come out from friends and family before the baby was even born!

Of course, DD's birth ended up being very medical and very traumatic and when her sex was announced in the OR after 50 hours of labour..... the surprise of finding out her sex just didn't seem important anymore. So whether you wait or not to find out the sex, circumstances of birth may make the waiting for it really anti-climatic.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

ETA: Actually, I remember now that DP really wanted to know in part because he was worried that parenting a girl would be really challenging for him and he wanted to mentally prepare himself if needed. He was really stressed about having a 'girly-girl' and being able to relate to her. Of course, now that DD is here he buys her the pinkest frilliest clothes around and loves having a 'daddy's girl' and talks about hoping baby#2 is also a girl.
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#14 of 22 Old 10-11-2010, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, citygirl, what did you decide??

~ Sarah[/QUOTE]

Well, our anatomy scan got moved to this upcoming friday, so we have pushed the decision off another week - and its been great to read all of these helpful responses. I am leaning towards finding out and my DP is leaning towards not. I also talked to a friend and they decided to find out but to tell everyone they didn't, and have loved their decision so far, so that seems like a fun compromise. I am still really wanting to know mostly so I can figure out what to do about the circumcision/bris question. I will keep you guys posted!
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#15 of 22 Old 10-14-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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We did decide to find out but when people asked what sex the baby was I'd often say something like 'the baby's got physical characteristics that means in our culture they'll be characterised as a boy'. I'd only use this response with selected people but I often found it provoked an interesting discussion.

Good luck with the scan citygirl
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#16 of 22 Old 10-14-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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My partner and I found out the sex, then told everyone "We know, but we're not telling." We used that as a reason to explain why we don't want pink OR blue stuff for the baby. It's fun b/c it drives people crazy!
We know that we're going to get a lot of girly stuff from our families once she is born, but for now at least we have a huge stockpile of gender-neutral clothes sized 0-9 months.
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#17 of 22 Old 10-15-2010, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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the scan was today and everything looked great. and, to the point of this thread, it's a boy!!!! we had a feeling it was a boy (and so did our mothers) so it wasn't surprising but still....wow. we are both a little bummed that we now have to really confront the circ or no circ issue, but we'll figure that out (if any other jewish folks on MDC have thought about this issue and want to chat, please PM me!). We are not going to tell anyone that we found out, so if you are one of the one or two people who know me in real life, mum's the word. we had a long talk last night about why i wanted to find out. i said that in addition to wanting to know whether or not we need to deal with a bris, I also realized that regardless of our gender politics, the sex that the baby is assigned at birth will in some undeniable and concrete ways shape their experience in the world (at least their initial experiences before they choose their own gender, in the unlikely event they choose a different gender than their sex at birth). and that at this point, i know nothing about what the baby will look like or be like or act like or feel like, and so knowing that one little thing - that it may have to confront sexism or privilege (not to just use negative examples but it was the first thing that came to mind) or get her period or pee standing up.... is something. so that is how we made the decision. now that i know i am a little sad that the surprise is gone. but also excited to know. thanks for all your support everyone!
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#18 of 22 Old 10-16-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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Citygirl, congrats on the great ultrasound and on finding out the baby is a boy!!

There is a board on MDC devoted to the case against circ if you are interested:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...splay.php?f=44

Congrats again!
-Sarah
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#19 of 22 Old 10-17-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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ETA: Actually, I remember now that DP really wanted to know in part because he was worried that parenting a girl would be really challenging for him and he wanted to mentally prepare himself if needed. He was really stressed about having a 'girly-girl' and being able to relate to her.
This was how it was for us, and while we both on the fence about deciding, I told my DP that he (a transguy) could decide, as I got to make other decisions during the pregnancy and post-partum. DP noted the above, and we got ourselves a boy - a "boy", who now at 3 loves pink and blue (probably his favourite colours), doing lots of sports, and dancing/gymnastics, tea parties with his grandparents, cuddles, singing, etc.
One of his favourite shirts is his pink shirt, but he loves his blue pajamas! When we talk about gender and sex with him, he says he is a boy, and also points at "girl" characters and labels them boys.


As for the couple that just found out (sorry, I'm just returning to MDC after a couple of years of hiatus, and can't figure out how to save all the names & info I want from previous posts), I can totally understand about wanting to find out for the reasons you have - especially in knowing that you will now face the circumcision issue (yay or nay). It is a hard one, for sure, in your circumstances. (Our boy isn't cut, and although we aren't Jewish, every other person with a penis in our families is.)

I wish you & your DP the best with the rest of the pregnancy, and getting to know your little one, for who they are/will be, and all they'll bring to your family!
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#20 of 22 Old 10-17-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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Congratulations on a great scan, citygirl!

And welcome back, Michelle!

DP is convinced that the next one will be a girl (even though we're not pregnant yet), and doesn't want to find out either way. I'm convinced that we're going to have a boy. At 36 weeks, due to pre-e (had it last time). I had a dream that was so real, I can't shake it. So, likely no reveal next time either. DP doesn't even want to discuss boy names, she's so convinced.

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#21 of 22 Old 10-17-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Erthe: I had a long response typed out to this, but I deleted it. I'm not going to post it and escalate the discussion. I'll just say this comment struck me as a bit condescending and insulting.

~ Sarah
I didn't mean it to sound that way; some people just don't know or haven't thought about it. I'm merely trying to be helpful/informative. Sorry about that!

placenta.gifeat.gif I'm a queer / trans-activist / poly / pagan / (dis)abled  / crazy / crunchy partner to fsonj; we're mamas to our unschooled/freeskooled 10yo, and co-breastfeed our sprightly toddler love.gif born Nov '10! (Ask me about how to supplement at the breast!)

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#22 of 22 Old 03-13-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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Hi just curious here- if you resolved the circumcision debate. I am a Jew by choice and my wife is not converting since the kids will be raised Jewish in either Conservative or Reconstructionist congregations it seems "necessaary". I would really prefer that if we have a boy he is left intact. But I really want our children to have the option of mobility within the progressive Jewish faith. It is hard to find other queer Jewish parents who have handled this situation without choosing circ.

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