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#31 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 10:59 AM
 
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Your DS sounds a lot like my DH was as a kid. He played with his sister's dolls, wasn't into most boy things and his friends were generally girls. He is a very compassionate man and an amazing, very involved father. I'm so appalled at the comments people make about your son but it's so good to hear that you are supportive of him.
I've read about the couple you mentioned and although I wouldn't go that route myself, I can see where they are coming from. It wouldn't really bother me if I knew these people - a child is a child and as long as there is love and safety, the child will thrive.

No, I don't think I would make the same choice, either, but I understand that it came from their DS1 being gender *fluid* and having to deal with people's disapproval of his choice of dress, hair style and toys etc. I can empathize with them wanting their child to decide for themself who they are and what they like without the constant (often negative) input from other people.

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#32 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 11:16 AM
 
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Has everyone heard of the couple in Toronto who made all the headlines last year because they are keeping the sex of their third child a secret until s/he is old enough to tell people him/herself? It has caused an absolute uproar! People are so angry with  them and seem to  think this is akin to child abuse. NUTS.

 

When I first heard about it I thought it was a bit nuts but then I heard that they're only holding off until the child can answer for "itself"... so I think it makes the "experiment" kind of pointless; kids at that age don't know one gender from another anyway, they don't know what being a boy or a girl means, they just know that they're either labeled a boy or a girl for the purpose of answering the question. They play with what's fun, there is no way to convince a child to like something for any reason, let alone to comply with something they have no concept of. 

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#33 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 12:12 PM
 
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I think the judgment people get for dressing their kids or allowing their kids to wear certain colors is ridiculous.  How is a 3-year old supposed to know that they should like a certain color and that people might be mean to them if they like the "wrong" color.  Other people shouldn't give you dirty looks when your son is playing with a fairy wand. 

I don't think you need to be able to tell the sex of a baby by looking at them.  Babies all kind of look the same.  They don't have secondary sex characteristics yet so who cares if it's obvious that they are a girl or boy? 

I am about to have my first baby and we have seen while shopping how hard it can be to find gender neutral items.  Even thermometers and humidifiers and combs come in pink or blue.  I don't think the baby will care what color his thermometer is.  Most of the clothes come in pink or blue too.  It's hard to find other colors.  You have to really look.  I have also heard that toddler pants for girls are cut slimmer than for boys.  I think that is wrong because it makes it harder for the girls to move around and their clothes may be harder to fit over a diaper, and I don't think 2-year olds need to be participating in the skinny jeans trend.




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#34 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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I think the judgment people get for dressing their kids or allowing their kids to wear certain colors is ridiculous.  How is a 3-year old supposed to know that they should like a certain color and that people might be mean to them if they like the "wrong" color.  Other people shouldn't give you dirty looks when your son is playing with a fairy wand. 

I don't think you need to be able to tell the sex of a baby by looking at them.  Babies all kind of look the same.  They don't have secondary sex characteristics yet so who cares if it's obvious that they are a girl or boy? 

I am about to have my first baby and we have seen while shopping how hard it can be to find gender neutral items.  Even thermometers and humidifiers and combs come in pink or blue.  I don't think the baby will care what color his thermometer is.  Most of the clothes come in pink or blue too.  It's hard to find other colors.  You have to really look.  I have also heard that toddler pants for girls are cut slimmer than for boys.  I think that is wrong because it makes it harder for the girls to move around and their clothes may be harder to fit over a diaper, and I don't think 2-year olds need to be participating in the skinny jeans trend.

 

Yup, they are cut differently... I made the mistake of buying my son girls pants once. They were just black pants so I didn't pay much attention (either did the person stocking the store apparently because they were on the boys side), I put them on him a few times... I couldn't quite place what was wrong with them and even my husband said the pants look weird on him... I just assumed it was because they were kind of flared at the bottom and he's got fat little legs so that must have been it, then one day I noticed the tag, it said girls. I gave it to my friend who has a girl, they looked perfectly fine on her... I've since noticed that girls pants tend to be bell-bottom type styles, whereas boys are all straight legs and boot cuts. 

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#35 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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I personally do not care for pastels of any color.  So our baby/toddler wardrobes are mostly jewel tones and neutrals (white, natural, brown, gray, black).

 

We're also making a real effort to raise children with the awareness that gender is simply NOT something we can define for them nor is it something that exists in a dichotomy.  I don't even really think of my children as having genders-- I know their physical sexes, but it's strange to me when people call them boys and girls.  We absolutely do not coach them to use such language-- I tell my sons that they have penises, and some people have penises and some people don't, but I have NEVER told them that they are boys, because it's not up to me what gender they identify with.

 

Back on topic, there are comfortable, practical, and attractive clothes available in every size, and that means that there are gowns/skirts/dresses for babies up to the age of crawling and toddlers above the age of walking well, pants and long- and short- sleeved shirts for everybody, etc., and our children just pick what they want to wear (most are capable of choosing between a couple options around the age of 10 months).

 

My 3.5yo son's favorite clothes are a black and cream velvet dress and an orange shirt with monkeys and bananas screenprinted on it.  He can wear what he likes to wear and if he wants to attach meaning to his wardrobe choices as his understanding of social norms develops, so be it.  Gender is constantly evolving, socially-defined and highly performative, it's not a fact of your anatomy.

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#36 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 01:56 PM
 
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The problem I have with it goes deeper than whether a particular child wears a particular colour on a particular day, and can't be remedied that much by dressing boys in pink (though I did that!)

 

I have a huge problem with the genderisation of society. I don't believe we have two genders, and certainly not a binary sexuality, so I really have a problem with the whole concept of blue-boy pink-girl. I don't just have a problem with encouraging girls and boys to identify with certain colours but also with the idea that we fit into nice easy boxes like "boy" "girl".

 

I also think there is often an undercurrent of "boys who wear pink end up gay" and the trouble with these discussions (not on here I mean-in rl) is that they often end up on the defensive ("no he won't. My husband....". When actually what I've always said is, "and? so? do you have a problem with that, because I am his mother and I don't.". (avoiding, "yeah, right, because human sexuality is that straightforward").

 

The reason I think we actually have these two colours is twofold. First it feeds the social desire to segregate into girls and boys that a lot of people do seem to have. Second, its a real boon for anyone selling kid stuff. If you have two kids, a boy and a girl, you have to get two freaking lots of everything! Seriously, I've known couples with twins who actually buy two separate sets of cutlery (I mean I barely bought special baby cutlery anyway but still...), Two pushchairs! Two sets of Lego. Its a marketing dream.

 

Oh just responding to "


But on the other hand, it also irks me that the same people who would applaud me letting my DS wear pink may also scoff at my DD's sparkly pink wardrobe. I let them both wear what they like. IME, some parents seem more interested in subverting stereotypes than in letting their kid be who s/he is."

 

not having a go, I take your point. I've always steered my girls strongly away from this stuff but let them play/dress up in it if they really want to. But I'm not keen that they do, I feel like a lot of society is pushing them this way and its ok for me to push back. When I was a kid I was not allowed Barbie or Sindy dolls owing to my mum being a Greenham Common feminist and I was fine with it, I got why and I certainly didn't feel hard done by, but really quite proud that my mum had such strong principles.


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#37 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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I don't even really think of my children as having genders-- I know their physical sexes, but it's strange to me when people call them boys and girls.

It's just a function of our language -- we don't have gender-neutral pronouns that are socially acceptable to use for humans (most people object to the word "it" being used for their baby/child, and I've heard some people use "zhe," but it hasn't caught on). Even you refer to your "son" and "he" in your post.

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#38 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 03:00 PM
 
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I think it's ridiculous. I feel worse for boys than for girls because girls can wear or like any color and it's okay, but it seems to not be the case for boys--at least not without them (parents and children) getting a lot of grief for it. My 2.5 yo DD LOVES blue. It is her favorite color and any time I let her pick something out for herself she will choose blue. She now has three favorite shirts that she wants to wear in rotation, and they are all dark blue. I'm okay with that--just don't like having to be so on the ball with laundry, though. ;) My husband sometimes asks me why I get her blue things or let her pick blue things, and I am quick to point out she can love whatever color she wants. I hated pink as a kid (but it's my favorite color now). My older DD, who is almost 5, likes any and all colors, although she often gravitates towards blue, too. I don't get why colors have become so very gender-specific. I have a thing for dinosaurs, and so the girls sometimes wore dinosaur garments when they were babies. Consequently, they were often blue or green. I can't tell you how many times I was asked how old HE was or what HIS name was. Seriously, people? This is the 21st century. Like I said, though, I feel badly for boys. I don't see why boys can't like pink or purple or have items in those colors. My friend's son was over the other day, and he was riding on my DD's bike, which is pink/purple and he was wearing her helmet. Also pink/purple. (She picked these out.) My friend said something, "Oh, if his dad could see him now," like it would be such an issue if he saw his son using "girly" things. The kid didn't really care--he just wanted to ride the bike, but then I think he became self-conscious about it and wanted to quit riding. I say let kids decide what colors are their favorites.

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#39 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 03:20 PM
 
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I used to dislike seeing girls dressed in head-to-toe pink, but now that I'm a mom (of a girl) I know that many kids choose to dress that way, and ask for it. It seems like a normal part of development, that kids like to do what other kids are doing, and well, pink's currently a part of it. Whether it comes from Barbie or older sisters or wherever, it seems here to stay. So are blue and trucks and football for boys, whether we like it or not.

 

I do have to admit it worries me; are gender roles getting assigned too early? I suppose that's up to each family to help the child navigate (or not), because it's definitely coming from outside the family, even when not from within.

 

My dd often chooses the girlier stuff. Where did she get this? Even if I want to subtly open her mind to other options ("How about these green pants!"), her peers steer her back. I think all I can do is let her climb that tree when she wants to, even in her dress and flats, and let her discover if that works for her or not. Perhaps it really does! She gets to decide.

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#40 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 03:47 PM
 
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Just something funny:

 

We went out to breakfast the other morning, my DH, my 3yo DS (who has pretty long red curly hair), and me.  When the server came to take our order she commented on how beautiful DS's hair is then asked, "Are you a little boy or a little girl?"  He looked at her (as serious as can be) and said, "I haven't decided yet."  I tried so hard not to laugh, but I loved it!  DH was beaming!  And the server just said, "Well, if you know before you all leave, let me know.  Okay, sweetie?" 

 

Also, I read an article, I think in Mothering, years ago about how the pink=girl and blue=boy thing is a relatively new phenomenon.  Blue used to be associated with girls because of all of the artwork depicting the Christian virgin Mary in blue robes, and mama's wanting to dress their girls in her image.  And pink was associated with boys because red was the color of kings, and of course everyone wants their son to grow up and be a king, right?

 

I think the color thing is ridiculous.  Like many of the PPs, I like to let DS choose what he enjoys.  I don't go for frills or polyester, I think other than that we are pretty open.  I don't like the way companies market to boys and girls, but I really don't like that companies market to children AT ALL!  So, I try not to subject DS (or myself for that matter) to it.  We don't frequent many big box stores, and we stay away from toy sections all together. 

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#41 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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I agree that head to toe pink may just mean that the child was allowed to choose an outfit. My DD loves pink (how???), and chooses clothes by the "Does it have pink in it?" method.

I agree with others, though, that toy genderization bugs me more than clothes. And it's hard to get around the girly girl stuff by buying boy stuff because the boy stuff is unappealingly stereotypical, too. I don't want superheroes OR princesses.
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#42 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 04:49 PM
 
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Just something funny:

 

We went out to breakfast the other morning, my DH, my 3yo DS (who has pretty long red curly hair), and me.  When the server came to take our order she commented on how beautiful DS's hair is then asked, "Are you a little boy or a little girl?"  He looked at her (as serious as can be) and said, "I haven't decided yet."  I tried so hard not to laugh, but I loved it!  DH was beaming!  And the server just said, "Well, if you know before you all leave, let me know.  Okay, sweetie?" 

 

 

Great story!  DS and the server handled that very well. 

 

I agree with what others have said.  When a child is old enough to choose their own clothes, they should be able to wear whatever they want even if it is stereotypical.  I'm sure there are many moms out there who weren't into pink and tried not to dress their girls in pink or encourage them to be super girly, but the girls wanted to wear pink all the time anyway.  What can you do?  Not much.




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#43 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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I wish it was easy to find gender neutral clothes for older kids, as it is for babies (as well as that super soft cotton that baby clothes are made out of). 

 

I find it a bit shocking that everything for kids is so gender specific--clothes, toys, you name it. 

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#44 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 07:22 PM
 
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My oldest was born in the 70's and baby things were pink and blue in the 70's and it was an issue back then just as it is now. There was a psychologist named Sandra Bem that advocated non-sexist child rearing in the early 1980's. She promoted the idea of using primary colors for young children and may have been responsible for primary colors being more popular in the 80's and 90's for kids clothes and toys. Some of my friends and I were into this idea of non-sexist child rearing and paid attention to avoiding stereotypes in how we dressed our kids, decorated their rooms, their toys, their education, ect. For my 3 sons it seemed to turn out well. They can do things that are considered male and female "tasks" and have some of the best male and female qualities. One is a nurse and one is a phlebotomist, traditionally female occupations. 


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#45 of 75 Old 04-11-2013, 09:18 PM
 
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It annoys me, but my two year old seems not to care, he borrowed his friends pink tutu a few weeks ago, and he asked for a pink easter dress - it's freezing here so we didn't get him one. 

 

What I HATE is the slogans on kid clothing, "MONSTER", "PRINCESS", "I'M THE BOSS", "MOMMY'S NIGHTMARE", "AT LEAST I'M CUTE", "SOCCER CHAMP" there are so many horrible ones that make boys all out to be terrors, and girls all out to be princesses.  I hate it hate it hate it.  It is difficult to find clothes that don't put your kid in a box or put words in their mouth.  Just a rant!


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#46 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 07:49 AM
 
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I personally do not care for pastels of any color.  So our baby/toddler wardrobes are mostly jewel tones and neutrals (white, natural, brown, gray, black).

 

We're also making a real effort to raise children with the awareness that gender is simply NOT something we can define for them nor is it something that exists in a dichotomy.  I don't even really think of my children as having genders-- I know their physical sexes, but it's strange to me when people call them boys and girls.  We absolutely do not coach them to use such language-- I tell my sons that they have penises, and some people have penises and some people don't, but I have NEVER told them that they are boys, because it's not up to me what gender they identify with.

 

Back on topic, there are comfortable, practical, and attractive clothes available in every size, and that means that there are gowns/skirts/dresses for babies up to the age of crawling and toddlers above the age of walking well, pants and long- and short- sleeved shirts for everybody, etc., and our children just pick what they want to wear (most are capable of choosing between a couple options around the age of 10 months).

 

My 3.5yo son's favorite clothes are a black and cream velvet dress and an orange shirt with monkeys and bananas screenprinted on it.  He can wear what he likes to wear and if he wants to attach meaning to his wardrobe choices as his understanding of social norms develops, so be it.  Gender is constantly evolviihologng, socially-defined and highly performative, it's not a fact of your anatomy.

I absolutely agree with your understanding of gender, and in an ideal world each human would be truly free to choose/discover their own gender identity without outside pressure and prejudice. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and I believe that a big part of my job as a mother is to help my children learn to navigate the world and the society we live in. My DS2 is free to wear dresses at home, but when he woke up on  the morning of school picture day and wanted to wear a dress, I said "No".  I told him my reasons and assured him that there was nothing wrong with him wanting to wear it.Was it the right decision? I don't know, but I do feel the need to try to protect him from ridicule. At the age of 5 he can't possibly know what the future ramifications of his choices now will be. No, neither can I, but I have more information and experience than he does. I would hate  for him to be the butt of jokes and bullying when he's 12 because of a choice he made at 5 in his conservative suburban school and can't change.

 

There are also leading psychologists in gender issues who believe that early parenting plays a significant part in people developing gender identity disorder. Having  not done the research myself, I can't know if this is true or not.  I have only known a couple of people who identified themselves as being transgendered and they both had extremely difficult lives. If there is a way to save my child from that, I will. Changing the way society views gender would be great and I will try to do my part  in that, but I will also try to protect my child. For me, at the moment, this means trying to allow my son to express himself and be who he feels he is at home and up to the point where I think there could be significant adverse consequences. I am open to change and assume I will come to regret some of my decisions. That seems to be a big part of mothering.

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#47 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 08:08 AM
 
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I absolutely agree with your understanding of gender, and in an ideal world each human would be truly free to choose/discover their own gender identity without outside pressure and prejudice. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and I believe that a big part of my job as a mother is to help my children learn to navigate the world and the society we live in. My DS2 is free to wear dresses at home, but when he woke up on  the morning of school picture day and wanted to wear a dress, I said "No".  I told him my reasons and assured him that there was nothing wrong with him wanting to wear it.Was it the right decision? I don't know, but I do feel the need to try to protect him from ridicule. At the age of 5 he can't possibly know what the future ramifications of his choices now will be. No, neither can I, but I have more information and experience than he does. I would hate  for him to be the butt of jokes and bullying when he's 12 because of a choice he made at 5 in his conservative suburban school and can't change.

 

There are also leading psychologists in gender issues who believe that early parenting plays a significant part in people developing gender identity disorder. Having  not done the research myself, I can't know if this is true or not.  I have only known a couple of people who identified themselves as being transgendered and they both had extremely difficult lives. If there is a way to save my child from that, I will. Changing the way society views gender would be great and I will try to do my part  in that, but I will also try to protect my child. For me, at the moment, this means trying to allow my son to express himself and be who he feels he is at home and up to the point where I think there could be significant adverse consequences. I am open to change and assume I will come to regret some of my decisions. That seems to be a big part of mothering.

Yes, I hear you!  We recently moved from a smaller town where gender identity was a lot more fluid (in adults and children).  DS had the freedom to wear barrettes in hes hair, tutus/sarongs, dinosaur shirts and motorcycle (fake) tattoos all as one outfit if he wanted and no one cared, or said anything at least.  We moved for DH's work to a much bigger and more conservative city where there are a lot more stereotypical "boys" and "girls".  By that I mean, when we go to the park all of the boys are playing gun games and rough-housing, all of the girls are playing house games and neither know how to incorporate DS into their worlds!  Frankly, that is fine with me b/c I am not sure I want him to get sucked into either of those worlds, but it isn't something I had even considered before moving.  It just didn't exist for us!  So, now I want him to continue to be himself and do what feels good for him, but I would also like him to not be completely shunned at the park/library/whatever (especially not for something as trivial as what he is wearing)!  We have been keeping the fancies for at home, walking the dogs, and trips to stores.  When we are intentionally headed out to hang out at a park or something I encourage more neutral clothing.  All that said, DS is moving into a phase where it isn't what KIND of clothes to wear, it is more of getting ANY clothes on him at all!

 

 

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What I HATE is the slogans on kid clothing, "MONSTER", "PRINCESS", "I'M THE BOSS", "MOMMY'S NIGHTMARE", "AT LEAST I'M CUTE", "SOCCER CHAMP" there are so many horrible ones that make boys all out to be terrors, and girls all out to be princesses.  I hate it hate it hate it.  It is difficult to find clothes that don't put your kid in a box or put words in their mouth.  Just a rant!

I agree!  I also don't want my son to advertise for "your"  company!   

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#48 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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It's just a function of our language -- we don't have gender-neutral pronouns that are socially acceptable to use for humans (most people object to the word "it" being used for their baby/child, and I've heard some people use "zhe," but it hasn't caught on). Even you refer to your "son" and "he" in your post.


I thought about that a LOT while I was pregnant with my first.  We use gender-specific pronouns with them by default as if they were definitely cis-gendered, but it's just shorthand.  English doesn't have a convenient neuter person, although we do use hir/ze to talk about people whose genders we can't easily categorize.  Even so, I often get the shes and the hes mixed up with my children and I don't correct myself.  Sometimes they correct me, and that gives us an opening to talk about people choosing their own pronouns and how we assume that masculine-presenting people take he/him/his and feminine-presenting people take she/her but that's just an assumption and the only way to know for sure what pronouns someone prefers is to ask.

 

And I had to re-read my post 4 times to make sure I was consistent about the son/he stuff.  It's just not on my radar.  I think of them as children, and as my children, and as their ages, and if I had to guess I'd say I probably use the cis pronouns with them about 80% of the time.  The gendered identities (boy, girl, son, daughter) aren't really in my thinking and it takes effort to summon them into my mind when I talk about my children with other people.  It's just not relevant to their lives or how we interact with them.

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#49 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 12:06 PM
 
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I absolutely agree with your understanding of gender, and in an ideal world each human would be truly free to choose/discover their own gender identity without outside pressure and prejudice. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and I believe that a big part of my job as a mother is to help my children learn to navigate the world and the society we live in. My DS2 is free to wear dresses at home, but when he woke up on  the morning of school picture day and wanted to wear a dress, I said "No".  I told him my reasons and assured him that there was nothing wrong with him wanting to wear it.Was it the right decision? I don't know, but I do feel the need to try to protect him from ridicule. At the age of 5 he can't possibly know what the future ramifications of his choices now will be. No, neither can I, but I have more information and experience than he does. I would hate  for him to be the butt of jokes and bullying when he's 12 because of a choice he made at 5 in his conservative suburban school and can't change.

 

There are also leading psychologists in gender issues who believe that early parenting plays a significant part in people developing gender identity disorder. Having  not done the research myself, I can't know if this is true or not.  I have only known a couple of people who identified themselves as being transgendered and they both had extremely difficult lives. If there is a way to save my child from that, I will. Changing the way society views gender would be great and I will try to do my part  in that, but I will also try to protect my child. For me, at the moment, this means trying to allow my son to express himself and be who he feels he is at home and up to the point where I think there could be significant adverse consequences. I am open to change and assume I will come to regret some of my decisions. That seems to be a big part of mothering.


See, I have no issue with my children having "gender identity disorder".  If they are trans*, they are trans*, and it's just part of who they are.

 

It's harder for people who publicly display homosexual attraction to live in our society, too, but it would be inappropriate to "protect" my children from being gay.  My MIL actually used that line on my DH when he was an adolescent-- it went something like "I will love you no matter what, even if you are gay, but I do hope you aren't gay because the world is very hard on people like that."  I'm sure she was just trying to protect her children and do right by them, but she ended up sending them the message that she would be disappointed if they had same-sex attractions, that being gay was some kind of worst-case scenario, and that homosexuals were OTHER. 

 

I want my children to know that I love them for who and what they are, and nothing they could say or do or think could change that.  I don't want them to think that I love them in spite of a part of their identity or that I would have preferred that they were different people.  Gender and sexual orientation are a very personal part of identity, shaped by a complex interplay of social development and innate physiological factors we do not understand.

 

So I'm waiting to see, as my children grow up, who they were all along.  For me, this means coming from a place of complete acceptance and facilitating whatever they feel is right for their individual lives as they develop and can control more of it themselves.  It also means that I don't plan/predict their futures-- I have no way of knowing, after all, if they will grow up to be cis-gendered teenagers or delay their puberty through hormone therapy or get top surgery or become teen parents or smoke pot or change their given names or get married or choose to remain childless or breed dogs or vote Republican, and none of that stuff should have any bearing on my love for them or how I am raising them.  I trusted that they knew when they needed to nurse when they were newborns, and while it is difficult to keep the faith, I'm trying to continue trusting them to know what's right for themselves.  Sometimes they make choices they later regret, yes, but I believe they will learn more from making a choice and reaping the consequences than from being restricted or controlled by the choices I make for them.

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#50 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 12:39 PM
 
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I absolutely agree with your understanding of gender, and in an ideal world each human would be truly free to choose/discover their own gender identity without outside pressure and prejudice. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and I believe that a big part of my job as a mother is to help my children learn to navigate the world and the society we live in. My DS2 is free to wear dresses at home, but when he woke up on  the morning of school picture day and wanted to wear a dress, I said "No".  I told him my reasons and assured him that there was nothing wrong with him wanting to wear it.Was it the right decision? I don't know, but I do feel the need to try to protect him from ridicule. At the age of 5 he can't possibly know what the future ramifications of his choices now will be. No, neither can I, but I have more information and experience than he does. I would hate  for him to be the butt of jokes and bullying when he's 12 because of a choice he made at 5 in his conservative suburban school and can't change.

 

 

I tend to agree with people who do this. I probably wouldn't let my son go to school in a dress either because of bullying, but instead of explaining it to him, I'd just lie and try not to let him buy one in the first place saying they don't have one in his size or something and hope he forgets... if one did happen make it home from the store, I'd be sure it got ruined in the wash or from painting or something so he couldn't wear it outside. I really wouldn't have the heart to tell him that I know something he likes is going to get him made fun of by his peers.

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#51 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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So I'm waiting to see, as my children grow up, who they were all along.  

 

I like the way you worded this, and I agree. I have a few friends whose husbands mildly object to their sons playing with traditionally "girly" toys, and it just seems so counterproductive to me. If they're gay they're ALREADY gay, and restricting play with certain toys isn't going to change that. So all those fathers are doing is potentially damaging their future relationship with their children, by sending a message of nonacceptance. 


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#52 of 75 Old 04-12-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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See, I have no issue with my children having "gender identity disorder".  If they are trans*, they are trans*, and it's just part of who they are.

 

It's harder for people who publicly display homosexual attraction to live in our society, too, but it would be inappropriate to "protect" my children from being gay.  My MIL actually used that line on my DH when he was an adolescent-- it went something like "I will love you no matter what, even if you are gay, but I do hope you aren't gay because the world is very hard on people like that."  I'm sure she was just trying to protect her children and do right by them, but she ended up sending them the message that she would be disappointed if they had same-sex attractions, that being gay was some kind of worst-case scenario, and that homosexuals were OTHER. 

 

I want my children to know that I love them for who and what they are, and nothing they could say or do or think canould change that.  I don't want them to think that I love them in spite of a part of their identity or that I would have preferred that they were different people.  Gender and sexual orientation are a very personal part of identity, shaped by a complex interplay of social development and innate physiological factors we do not understand.

 

So I'm waiting to see, as my children grow up, who they were all along.  For me, this means coming from a place of complete acceptance and facilitating whatever they feel is right for their individual lives as they develop and can control more of it themselves.  It also means that I don't plan/predict their futures-- I have no way of knowing, after all, if they will grow up to be cis-gendered teenagers or delay their puberty through hormone therapy or get top surgery or become teen parents or smoke pot or change their given names or get married or choose to remain childless or breed dogs or vote Republican, and none of that stuff should have any bearing on my love for them or how I am raising them.  I trusted that they knew when they needed to nurse when they were newborns, and while it is difficult to keep the faith, I'm trying to continue trusting them to know what's right for themselves.  Sometimes they make choices they later regret, yes, but I believe they will learn more from making a choice and reaping the consequences than from being restricted or controlled by the choices I make for them.

You assume that our parenting doesn't influence whether or not our children may develop *sexual identity disorder*. I use to assume that as well, but when I started to look into it, that is definitely not agreed upon among the leading *experts*. I don't know if they are correct, but it has made me reconsider my some of my parenting choices.

 

I also want my children to know I love them for who and what they are and I believe I do that. I just don't want to contribute to something that may make their lives significantly harder than need be. I have gay friends who have said that if they had a choice their kids would be straight because they believe it would be easier for them. That doesn't mean their kids would think they were loved conditionally.And I can't imagine the circumstances when one would verbalize that to their kids. The best science now indicates that sexual orientation is predominantly biologically based, but the same cannot be said for gender identity. That doesn't mean I love my children conditionally or accept them less if they turn out to be gay, straight, trans, conservative, bankers, or dog breeders.

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#53 of 75 Old 04-13-2013, 12:08 AM
 
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"Gender is constantly evolviihologng, socially-defined and highly performative, it's not a fact of your anatomy."

 

yeahthat.gif

 

Re the boy/dress thing. I actually know a man who was allowed to do this as a child and so his family have school photos of him in a dress at age 5. It is totally and utterly not a big deal. He grew up to have three sons and is actually your pretty normal straight male afaik. And the dress picture is a cute thing.

 

My kids are a little older, and I raised them, not to be unaware of gender at all, but to be aware that gender is a social construct to some extent, and that their gender is not the primary thing about them necessarily, its not more important than them being interested in sailing or liking yellow. It does not trump anything else. As they have got older we've discussed what this might mean in terms of other people. My son has always been quite stereotypically boyish in terms of energy and interests (though he has a number of stereotypically "female" interests too) and its only fairly recently that he's even discussed gender really, and that was in the context of conversations we've had about equality. We have several friends who identify as trans, and others who identify as gay (including their beloved cousins dads) and it has literally never come up. He's at an age when his female friends are not letting the boys play, sadly, and we've discussed it in that context and how exluding someone beuase of their gender is quite hurtful.

 

We see nothing odd or unusual in it so I think, nor do they. If my kids were gay it would be, literally, nothing more than them telling us they really disliked custard.

 

They are homeschooled but this is a mixed blessing as I'd say that among homeschoolers are some extremely morally conservative people. We have had serious issues in the past in our groups with Stonewall (LGBT rights) anti-bullying posters being deemed "inappropriate" and certainly thinking of my kids homeschooled peers vs the schooled ones they meet in their activities, prejudice more often comes from the homeschoolers and is more likely to be unchallenged. But it has the advantage that I can choose to balance their influences a little.


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#54 of 75 Old 04-13-2013, 02:12 AM
 
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Oh, to add. I am not having a go, but re "The best science now indicates that sexual orientation is predominantly biologically based, but the same cannot be said for gender identity.".

 

Ok I am assuming that by "biologicially based" you mean "genetically predetetermined?" I apologise if not. As a materialist I'd say that everything is biologically based, including learnt behaviour. But one important thing is that as we learn, so our brains do change. Einstein had an unusual brain but its impossible to say whether he was born with it or whether it developed that way because of how he used it. Or whether it was even relevant to how he used it-maybe he happened to have a weird brain and it had no impact on his work.

 

Assuming you are saying that sexuality is genetically predetermined.The science of sexuality and gender is notoriously slippery. How do you even measure sexuality? I don't think anyone has ever really done so satisfactorally. I've had my eye on this research for years and I have never seen anything that's made me come to the conclusion that sexuality was predetermined, or not. My own feeling is that we all have differening tendencies and inclinations and what gets expressed is partly a result of environment, partly learning, and partly genes. I don't mean that we are all fully bisexual, I think that that is statistically rare, but I think most people are less monsexual than they possibly admit.

 

I remember years ago, when taking psychology courses, being involed in an experiement of this nature. Participants were shown eroti-ish pictures of  men and women and various measures of <ahem> interest taken. But the problem was, at least for the images of the women, that they had used the same images for all participants, male and female, and that they were basically taken from lad magazines. Non-straight women often do not find the same images arousing as straight men, there is far too much cultural baggage associated with it all and lesbian pornography is an entirely separate genre. Just a small illustration to show how tricky this field really is.  


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#55 of 75 Old 04-13-2013, 07:38 AM
 
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"Re the boy/dress thing. I actually know a man who was allowed to do this as a child and so his family have school photos of him in a dress at age 5. It is totally and utterly not a big deal. He grew up to have three sons and is actually your pretty normal straight male afaik. And the dress picture is a cute thing."

 

 I am glad that your friend who wore a dress to school seems to have suffered no adverse reactions, but one can hardly say that because one person didn't, nobody would. I also think you may have misunderstood WHY I didn't allow my son to wear the dress for picture day. It was NOT because I thought it would make him gay or trans. It was because I was afraid he would be bullied (in his conservative suburban school) either now, or in the future and as he has  little to no understanding of the consequences- I decided to make that decision for him.

 

"Ok I am assuming that by "biologicially based" you mean "genetically predetetermined?" "

 

Actually by "biologically based" I mean an inborn combination of genetics and environmental factors.

 

" We have several friends who identify as trans, and others who identify as gay (including their beloved cousins dads) and it has literally never come up."

 

I'm not sure if this was meant as a response to something I said (maybe not), but my family has lots of gay friends (my DH and I were both actors...very large gay community in theatre) and it has also never been an issue here. We are in Canada and my kids see marrying someone of either sex as being a viable option. 

 

"I remember years ago, when taking psychology courses, being involved in an experiment of this nature. Participants were shown eroti-ish pictures of  men and women and various measures of <ahem> interest taken. But the problem was, at least for the images of the women, that they had used the same images for all participants, male and female, and that they were basically taken from lad magazines. Non-straight women often do not find the same images arousing as straight men, there is far too much cultural baggage associated with it all and lesbian pornography is an entirely separate genre. Just a small illustration to show how tricky this field really is."

 

I absolutely agree. I am now a psych grad student and I am well aware of how *squishy* much of psychology can be!

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#56 of 75 Old 04-13-2013, 07:59 AM
 
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Re the boy/dress thing. I actually know a man who was allowed to do this as a child and so his family have school photos of him in a dress at age 5. It is totally and utterly not a big deal. He grew up to have three sons and is actually your pretty normal straight male afaik. And the dress picture is a cute thing.

 

For me it isn't an issue with my son or whether or not it would turn him gay, it's how society would react to something he would consider normal and part of who he is. If he was gay or trans, I'd want to protect him from bullying as long as I could until he's old enough to understand or at least have a better concept of why some people don't accept him. If he were a little bit older, I could make resources available to him so he wouldn't feel isolated. 

I'd rather my son hate the clothes his mom picks out for him in daycare/kindergarten than be bullied by his peers for being who he is.

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#57 of 75 Old 04-14-2013, 07:02 PM
 
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For me it isn't an issue with my son or whether or not it would turn him gay, it's how society would react to something he would consider normal and part of who he is. If he was gay or trans, I'd want to protect him from bullying as long as I could until he's old enough to understand or at least have a better concept of why some people don't accept him. If he were a little bit older, I could make resources available to him so he wouldn't feel isolated. 
I'd rather my son hate the clothes his mom picks out for him in daycare/kindergarten than be bullied by his peers for being who he is.

greensad.gif This is so sad to me. Depressing that our society (well, namely parent opinions forced on their children) has such control over something that shouldn't be a big deal.

As an early childhood teacher, I see some of this starting in the early grade levels. It disgusts me that parents will tell their children that it is wrong to wear or like "boy" or "girl" colors (toys, clothes, games)--enough so that it carries over into the classroom. If more parents allowed their children to dress as they want and be proud of who they are, the bullies (parents and children alike) would have much less power....

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#58 of 75 Old 04-15-2013, 07:24 AM
 
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We had to go out to Goodwill and get our son pants, as he's finally hit another growth spurt, and suddenly outgrew his 2T stuff. The ONLY pants that fit him well were "girl" pants. All the "boy"'s clothes were baggy. So, if it fits... what's the huge deal? Pants are pants. =\

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#59 of 75 Old 04-17-2013, 12:27 PM
 
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I tell my sons that they have penises, and some people have penises and some people don't

 

I find it interesting that you advocate gender neutrality, yet this wording contains some subtle sexism. In my view it would be more gender neutral to say, "Some people have penises, some have vulvas, and a few people even have some combination of the two." As it is worded here, the implication is that girls are people who lack something (a penis), rather than people who have their own complex anatomy, which is valuable in its own right.

 

I realize I may be nitpicking here. My point is simply that cultural attitudes can seep into our thinking, even when we do our best to challenge those cultural attitudes. Also, if my reading is off, and you have another reason for your wording, then please let me know.

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#60 of 75 Old 04-20-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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"I am glad that your friend who wore a dress to school seems to have suffered no adverse reactions, but one can hardly say that because one person didn't, nobody would. I also think you may have misunderstood WHY I didn't allow my son to wear the dress for picture day. It was NOT because I thought it would make him gay or trans. It was because I was afraid he would be bullied (in his conservative suburban school) either now, or in the future and as he has  little to no understanding of the consequences- I decided to make that decision for him."

 

Ok fair enough that's one anecdote. But I guess that's where we are with this. Anecdote and personal belief. We lack rigorous, unbiased studies. I can say that in this one case it wasn't an issue. When my friend was a kid, we had a law in place in the UK, which, in effect, made teachers absolutely unwilling to take any kind of stand against homophobic/trans bullying, and created a culture where, as a child who did not identify with the heternormative model, there was absolutely no representation, no mirror held up at all. I think it was probably worst than living before this law in some ways because at least, prior to this, teachers could have taken some action and introduced some non-straight ideas and so on, whereas after, even (especially) gay teachers were silenced. In effect, most teachers actively promoted heternormality-there was great fear of prosecution and also, a teacher who was themselves outed would have been in great trouble. Suicide among gay youth at that point was ludicrosly high and I've read a number of studies suggesting that there are ongoing mental health issues in the LGBT community as a hangover from this era. What I'm trying to say is that, first, his parents would probably have little cause to believe that sending him to school in a dress would work out ok but trusted and it actually was. It wasn't really something anyone felt the need to comment on, kids are more tolerant than I think we often believe. But secondly, kind of paradoxically, I think if you are in a situation anything like that then I do understand how difficult it must be. Its an awful, unnatural situation where we are dividing love into acceptable and unacceptable. I agree with Lisedea-its a dreadfully sad situation. I'm fortunate to be in a position to homeschool and I do appreciate not having to make my kids make these choices. 

 

Its a small point too but I'd mention that my own son had long hair, wore pink and was mistaken for a girl for years, probably til he got a slightly shorter haircut last year, and yk, its never bothered him in the slightest. But he's not dealing with it alone, he spends a majority of his time in the HS community where the lines of weirdity are not only way, way further out than that but actually celebrated anyway, so I accept its a little different. 

 

One thing I feel my friend and his siblings got from the dress wearing experience. None of them would ever laugh at someone wearing a dress because, in pride of place in their mum's photo album, is at least one of them in a frock. It is a normalising experience. My friend is also incredibly pro LGBT rights, and I really think that having had someone say yes, not no, to him when he wanted to bend the rules a little helped a lot with this. He sees it as a defining experience. 


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