Raising a Gender-Neutral Child - Is it Harmful? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Do you think raising a child genderless is good or harmful?
I think it's good thing. 28 18.30%
I think it's harmful. 91 59.48%
I have a mixed opinion (please explain in your post) 34 22.22%
Voters: 153. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-28-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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I used to babysit a kid where this was, in fact, the case. This was before they could actually test for the XX vs the XY chromosomes, so the parents gave their child a gender-neutral name, (Jordan,) and let the kid decide. He ended up choosing boy and then they got the physical operation done. He seems to be just fine, now. Most people don't even know that his gender was ever a question.


What an awesome way to handle that situation!  I applaud that family!


 

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Old 05-29-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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Children and adults on the autism spectrum don't always have an inborn sense of gender (their own or other people), and need to be specifically taught about masculinity and femininity.  They need to learn how to express gender in themselves, and read it in other people.  If their parents and teachers fail to teach them gender, it is NOT helpful to them functioning in society! 

 

In other words, this experiment has already been done. 


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Old 05-29-2011, 10:03 AM
 
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I think that they are making a choice about the child's gender, rather than letting he/she develop on his/her own.  Choosing no gender is still a choice - and it isn't the child's choice.  I think it is healthier to teach a child that being "male" or "female" is what you make of it, not what any society says it has to be.  When my kids talk about something as "for girls" or "a boy game" - I ask them if you need a penis or vagina to do it!  They think this is hilarious & go "NO!!!"  I make light of it, but try to keep that idea in the back of their minds...every option is available to you....

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Old 05-29-2011, 12:22 PM
 
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A previous poster asked why people get offended by statements like, "He's all boy!"  I'll tell you why.  Because what is "all boy"?  What makes a boy a boy is his penis and lack of uterus, basically.  So, comments like "He's all boy" don't even mean anything unless we agree that boys (and only boys) do x,y,z because x, y, z are "boy activities".  There are no activities that inherently define a boy as a boy.   Same with girls. 

 

Of course, gender gets more interesting once puberty hits.  It's possible it gets interesting for the first time. LOL

 

But, people have always done sociological experiments using children, so I'm not sure why people are upset with that.  Children are experiments.  As is life. 

 

People who refuse to cut their boy's hair and let it grow long?  Sociological experiment.  People who never let their girls wear pink or purple or skirts or dresses?  Sociological experiment. 

 

Over time, we have gotten used to those experiments. And, eventually, we'd probably get used to the one that spawned this discussion.  However, I don't like that the older children are being coerced into this and also are not being protected from the gender issue themselves.  They are boys.  And, it doesn't seem like anyone is trying to keep that from us. 

 

Extremes in either direction are still extremes.  And often harmful. 


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Old 05-29-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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My SELFISH family did that gender "neutral" crap with me and I HATED it. It's more like gender withholding. I hate them for it.

I didn't see how many ppl were actually forced to look like  'tomboy" . While my little sister was allowed dresses and dolls.

Tomboy is probably some horrid word now days but I'm 40 and that is what they called it back then.

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Old 05-29-2011, 09:09 PM
 
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A child will do what child will do.  I think eventually Storm will figure out who she/he is.

 

 

In our society we have confusion between gender as biological concept, the core indentity and the societal gender roles. And all of it is confused with sexual orientation.

 

All the outwordly things we assign to "gender" are just that...assigned concept.  On the other hans, there are clear biological difference between genders that are expressed in variety of  ways.

 

  I did not make big thing about gender or sexuality with my sons. The one who is very much mama's boy, loves tea, loves backing and stuffed animals is straight . The other, who always loves LEGO's  , trucks, computers and were all black and was very much " dad's helper" with tools etc is gay.

 

 

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Old 05-29-2011, 09:57 PM
 
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I am astonished that more people did not say a "good thing". WE are one of the most polarized cultures about gender on the planet- we indoctrinate our kids at a young age what it "means" (to our transient culture) to be a boy/man girl/woman.

 

I wrote a blog post about how I am raising my son a while back and it expresses my opinions: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2010/10/raising-human-in-gendered-world.html

 

I also wrote about it later in a blog carnival on natural parenting: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2011/04/carnival-of-natural-parenting.html

 

I will raise my son to be a HUMAN first.


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Old 05-30-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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As a vetern teacher and grandmother I believe the parents are doing harm by not identifiying the child's gender at birth. If a child is predisposed to the other gender it shows up early enough for the parents to be supportative if that is the case.

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Old 05-30-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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I am astonished that more people did not say a "good thing". WE are one of the most polarized cultures about gender on the planet- we indoctrinate our kids at a young age what it "means" (to our transient culture) to be a boy/man girl/woman.

 

I wrote a blog post about how I am raising my son a while back and it expresses my opinions: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2010/10/raising-human-in-gendered-world.html

 

I also wrote about it later in a blog carnival on natural parenting: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2011/04/carnival-of-natural-parenting.html

 

I will raise my son to be a HUMAN first.


Really, the sex of a child is absolutely irrelevant, but I notice that you just said my SON. It seems too much to you to leave him free of sex identification, correct? However, I totally agree that we should raise humans, not boys or girls. I applaud your effort in freeing your child of gender restrictions and I wish more people would do so.

It's so unfortunate that we are forced to differentiate between boys and girls before puberty. I would unreservedly have said "good thing" IF these people were living in a community where this wasn't basically unheard of and radically controversial. In infancy? Fine, the baby doesn't know the difference, but later on there is too much risk for serious negative consequences for the child.

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Old 05-30-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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Secrets are almost always harmful, and they are never liberating.

 

Besides that, I truly don't see the point. You can disagree with the way our culture handles gender, but opting out of participation renders you helpless to change anything.

 

Also, going this far afield from normality will inevitably alienate the child. :(


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Old 05-30-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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I guess I read the article differently from many people. I didn't get the impression they were raising a gender-neutral child, just that they were going to follow their child's lead about what his or her gender would be. Once Storm felt ready to declare a gender, and/or let people know his or her sex, then Storm would do so. Until then, they were keeping knowledge of Storm's physical sex restricted to close family members. To me that's a far cry from acting as if Storm doesn't have a gender.

 

Also, only telling close friends and family Storm's physical sex 'for the time being' isn't the same as keeping it a secret. Storm will know, people who change his or her diaper will know. At four months old, to whom else does Storm's physical sex matter??? They said they'll keep information about Storm's sex within the family as long as everyone's comfortable with it, so it sounds like they're well aware that they won't be keeping this up forever, or even very long, and have no intention of making their older children shoulder a burden they don't want. 

 

I think there are a lot of fears being read into what this family is doing: fears that Storm won't be allowed to express any natural femininity or masculinity he or she might feel. I do think some people have swung to that extreme in reaction to polarized gender roles. But I don't think that's what Storm's parents are doing- they seem to be all about child-led self-expression. I can't find fault with that.


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Old 05-30-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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Has anyone read the short article/story "X: A Fabulous Child's Story"? It's a feminist piece meant to point out how much emphasis is placed on gender roles in children. It's great and I think it really sheds some light on the importance of being able to let go of gender roles. The child "X" in the story is raised in the same way that Storm is being raised. His/Her sex is kept from everyone except for the child and his parents of course, but in the end it allows the child to be whoever they want to be. I think it's a cool idea. :) As long as it's a happy, healthy child I don't think that the fact that the gender is "secret" should matter.


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Old 05-30-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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i posted a link to the story in post #11. 

 

 


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Old 05-30-2011, 10:57 PM
 
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~*In the End the Child will have the Final choice about what they want to be. Not even the parents can stop this.

The only thing that people Need to to worry about is that this child parents will support them. The Parents can not raise the child to be both or

neither Gender he or she will eventually fall natrually in his/her own place. They Will favor over one or the other. This isn't really anyone else buisness either.

I honestly Think This is just another reason for people judge someone. *~

 

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Old 05-31-2011, 03:52 AM
 
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If they didn't want it to be anyone's business or for anyone to have an opinion about it, they shouldn't have done a public interview and have their information published. eyesroll.gif
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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I think that what this family is doing has been sensationalized by the media, and reactions (nor just here but everywhere) has been caught up in confusion about sex and gender.

 

It seems to me that what Storm's family is doing isn't hiding the baby's gender or raising Storm to be gender-neutral.  All they're doing is not making assumptions about Storm's gender based on Storm's sex.  They're not hiding the baby's gender, because they don't know the baby's gender yet, only the sex.  They're not "raising a child genderless", because they don't know yet whether Storm is genderless.

 

I also don't think we can make any judgments about it being terrible for the older brothers to have such a burden of secrecy.  I haven't seen anywhere but in speculation that the family is putting any pressure on the older kids to keep it a secret.  I think it's more likely (though obviously I don't know for sure) that the family atmosphere is such that Storm's sex just isn't a big deal to the older kids the way it is in most families.

 

I didn't vote in the poll because it doesn't accurately reflect the world - I don't think the parents are "raising a child genderless", as I've explained above.  There should be an "Other" option for those who disagree with the question asked in the poll.  Plus, I think the title of the thread isn't appropriately impartial - it's leading us to rah rah about how awful it is world gone mad etc.


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Old 05-31-2011, 12:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillitu View Post

I am astonished that more people did not say a "good thing". WE are one of the most polarized cultures about gender on the planet- we indoctrinate our kids at a young age what it "means" (to our transient culture) to be a boy/man girl/woman.

 

I wrote a blog post about how I am raising my son a while back and it expresses my opinions: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2010/10/raising-human-in-gendered-world.html

 

I also wrote about it later in a blog carnival on natural parenting: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2011/04/carnival-of-natural-parenting.html

 

I will raise my son to be a HUMAN first.




Really, the sex of a child is absolutely irrelevant, but I notice that you just said my SON. It seems too much to you to leave him free of sex identification, correct? However, I totally agree that we should raise humans, not boys or girls. I applaud your effort in freeing your child of gender restrictions and I wish more people would do so.


No, you misunderstand me. I call him my son, yes- but that does not mean the same thing to me as it does to you, evidentally. I am not holding onto some gender snippet by using that term any more than using a gender neutral term. I find inventing language gets tiring and cumbersome and not everyone understand it. To me, "son", "daughter" and "child" are interchangeable, and they mean the exact same thing.

 

I know it is hard for people to wrap their brains around this- after all, we have all been indoctrinated from a very early age to think that these are essential differences and that they are huge. They are neither. I applaud people for allowing some breathing room for their kids like these parents have.


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Old 05-31-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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And, then, beyond that.. what's wrong with being a man or a woman?  I'm not a dress wearing, manicure getting girly girl.. but, I really like that my husband is a basketball loving, tool slinging manly type guy.  (occasionally I wish I'd married a computer geek... but, only when I need help with my computer)

 

What's wrong with a sports loving man, or a skirt wearing woman with long highlighted hair?  It seems as if that is becoming less acceptable.  But, what if that really is who you are?  

 

Why not just have lots of toys available to kids?  Let THEM decide?   Why is it when someone says "My son is all boy" that people get so offended?  


I think you are the parents in this article agree- they are letting their kid decide rather than them or the public making choices on their behalf by disclosing their kid's gender to the world.

 

Are you actually offended by their choice? When I hear people saying "What's the matter with being a man or a woman?" I hear people being defensive- because they feel that somehow other people's choices somehow negate theirs. We can all exist with differing choices!

 


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Old 05-31-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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No, you misunderstand me. I call him my son, yes- but that does not mean the same thing to me as it does to you, evidentally. I am not holding onto some gender snippet by using that term any more than using a gender neutral term. I find inventing language gets tiring and cumbersome and not everyone understand it. To me, "son", "daughter" and "child" are interchangeable, and they mean the exact same thing.


I understand what you are saying and I really respect your position on this. I was thinking of what it means to other people when you identify him as your son. It changes their behavior toward him, which is what this family is trying to avoid.

And actually, I have read up on this a little more and I think my reservations have been assuaged. The impression I have is that they will let the kid reveal his or her sex and choose her or his own gender. My feelings are less mixed now.

I remember when my first two babies were born and somebody immediately said "it's a boy." I was still on "it's a baby." When I had my last baby, I told everyone to not announce the sex, that I would tell them when I was ready. It took me a good hour even think to check. It just wasn't very important. I kind of wish I was brave enough to keep it a secret for longer.

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Old 05-31-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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interesting. 

 

we dont have a word for 3rd gender. one has to either fit one or the other - boy or girl - there is no language for other.

 

i wonder how countries like india is treating this news esp. since they have official recognisation of m, f and e for eunuch. of course that is the sex. 

 

i commend the parents for trying - for breaking the mould. i see no harm in this. they have done a fine job with their other kids.

 

it seems the rest of the world have a huge problem with it. 

 

i can totally support the parents decision. they are caring parents not cold hearted scientists. 

 

as usual media got hold of something and sensationalised it completely. 


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Old 06-01-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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I don't think it is harmful or helpful.  I hope parents love, accept and encourage their kids to be who they feel they are. 


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Old 06-01-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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I didn't answer the (too simplistic) poll.

 

I think that not telling anyone what sex your baby is (and that's what we're talking about - they don't KNOW the gender, only the physical sex, none of us know the gender of our children when they are 4 months old, most children only know when they are getting towards 3, and some not for a lot longer) is benign.  It is LIKELY that the sex and gender will match, but not guaranteed.  So long as the parents answer any questions the CHILD has honestly, i do not see what the big deal is.

 

If however they are trying to hide from Storm what sex s/he is, that is different.  I think that is potentially harmful.  If Storm asks i would hope they would tell him/her what physical sex s/he is.  I think not doing so could be harmful, just as telling a transsexual child they are what their genitals say they are over and over could be harmful.

 

I'm not convinced they wanted the amount of hype they got, not convinced they meant to do anything except prolong the short period of non-stereo-type-specific expectations of those around Storm which most babies only get before they are born, or increasingly before the scan that identifies their sex.  Maybe they just didn't want gifts like this.

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Old 06-01-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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there was a study done (forget where and what source - I heard about it on woman's hour on BBC radio 4 a few years ago)  where there was a shocking difference in how women talked to their babies depending on gender.

 

Girl babies were talked on some massive proportion amount more by their mothers than the baby boys were. 

 

I guess if we move beyond thinking gender we will just talk, coo and chuckle with love...to baby


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Old 06-04-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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can we next make a poll about whether or not polling about people's parenting choices is harmful or helpful?  kthxbye


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