Social Question

Seelix's avatar

What do you think about this couple in Toronto raising a "genderless" baby?

Asked by Seelix (14747 points ) May 24th, 2011

This past Saturday, the Toronto Star printed this article about a couple in the city who are raising their third child, who is now four months old, as neither male nor female. Apparently, the only people who know the sex of the baby are the parents, their two older kids, one family friend and the two midwives who helped mom deliver (there was no mention of a pediatrician, which leaves me wondering a little).

There was such a response to the article on the Star website that a follow-up article is in today’s paper. Some of the reader comments on the original article are inspiring, while others are just downright mean.

I immediately thought of my fellow Jellies when I saw the article, because I thought you’d be able to provide some interesting ideas about it (and also because you likely haven’t seen the article yet), so I wanted to share it with you all and see what you think.

So what’s your take on this story?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

120 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That’s interesting. GQ.

Blackberry's avatar

Typical, I see this family trying to be progressive, and they’re bombarded with ignorance from everyone else. They’re not doing anything wrong.

“Friends said they were imposing their political and ideological values on a newborn. Most of all, people said they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders”
Fucking fail. Society, you suck.

tedd's avatar

I mean go for it if they want to, but how long can you keep that up? At some point its going to obviously be a boy or a girl. And would you really want to raise the child to be genderless? In a perfect world hey that would be a great concept, but here in reality that child is eventually going to have to integrate with a society that doesn’t typically accept “genderless” as an option.

Its a neat concept at the least though.

Blackberry's avatar

@tedd I agree, they aren’t going to single handedly change society, but it has to start somewhere.

“To the people who question it as a social experiment, I say that breaking social norms is not synonymous with bad parenting. Many modern practices were frowned upon as a social experiment once,” RyderJH commented on thestar.com, pointing to interracial friendships and teaching girls to read and have career ambitions as examples.”

I’m glad they’re taking this step, and hopefully they don’t cave to their communities demands too soon lol.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Like @tedd said, in theory it’s a lovely idea, but I wonder if they have projected the concept to the point where Storm will be dealing regularly with the real world.. Whether it’s “right” or not will cease to be the issue, especially if Storm decides to start outing his/her own sex at an early age. Will they tell the child to keep it a secret? To not respond to strangers who ask him/her directly? As soon as a tiny child starts talking, there are no secrets. I wonder about the effect on someone so young when outside sources start imposing a gender standard. Are they planning to keep the child away from other young children? Do they know enough people who share their views to give Storm a varied enough view of the population without going outside their circle of support?

Poser's avatar

Honestly it sounds pretty ridiculous to me. People talk about gender as if it’s a horrible thing, as if “acting” male or female (usually male) is awful. Boys and girls aren’t the same. They just aren’t. It isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t a good thing. It just is.

But I’m not going to critisize them. The beauty of parenting is that we are all allowed to screw up our kids any way we wish.

Seelix's avatar

You pose some good questions, @JilltheTooth. I agree that eventually, Storm will start to hear questions regarding whether (s)he’s a girl or a boy, and I’d assume, based on how I perceive the parents, that they’ll tell Storm to answer however (s)he feels comfortable. One of the older kids, Jazz, is 5, and though he wears what he wants and has long hair styled in a “feminine” way, he identifies as a boy and has even asked his mother to let the leaders of his day camp know that he’s a boy.

Personally, I like their idea. Babies are too little to vocalize their feelings about gender, and whether they identify as their biological sex or as the opposite sex or as no sex at all, so why impose one on them?

I hear all the time parents who decide not to teach their kids any type of religion – that they’ll let the kids decide whether they want to follow a religion. Why is that so well-accepted while these parents are getting berated?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Eh. I don’t think I like it.
Although I understand, recognize, and respect that gender is not set in stone, I don’t see anything wrong with raising your child based on the sex that they are at birth… and than accepting it if it turns out that they do not feel the same way inside.

I don’t see anything inherently wrong with what these parents are doing, I just wonder how it will affect the child in the long run. Although I don’t think that we should never step outside of the box, I often question why anyone would intentionally keep their child outside of said box. Children are teased for everything, and they will struggle with self-esteem and finding themselves regardless of how you raise them. Something like this just leads me to assume that those normal challenges will be even harder for a child that is raised significantly differently from the majority of their peers.
I have the same opinion of people who give their child bizarre names like “Like” or “Dweezil.” It just strikes me as something that a child will inevitably struggle with more than the parents, regardless of how great the parents’ intentions are.

iphigeneia's avatar

Other couples have tried this, and I believe they were often surprised that the child appeared to be naturally driven to toys and games stereotypical to their sex. That’s not to say that we should therefore channel babies into social boxes from birth.

I think it’s wonderful that they’re encouraging their children to not be worried about conforming to gender expectations. For the people not told the baby’s sex, they might find that they know him/her better because they were able to observe with open minds.

snowberry's avatar

The child will be a playground for psychologists. I predict some of them will make some money (maybe lots?) off of this kid.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iphigeneia I think that would be ideal, but do you really think that most people will observe with an open mind? Or will the stigma around the circumstances only make things harder?

I’m genuinely asking, not challenging what you said. I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around the world being accepting of such a progressive approach toward raising a child.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It reminds me of It’s Pat from SNL.
Will the kid stand up, or squat to pee? Take turns?

I’m betting the family will parlay this project into a pile of money from the Enquirer, “Reality” TV, interviews etc. The kid will do fine. I can’t wait to see the wedding pictures.

Stinley's avatar

Good on them. As @Blackberry said some of the stuff that was accepted in the past as right because “he’s a boy, she’s a girl” is now shocking in its discrimination. So yes they are making their child a social experiment but they are also providing their child with a happy and loving environment.

I agree that boys are different to girls – any experiment in social psychology will show this but the differences can be plotted on two bell curves that vastly overlap. I also remember hearing about an experiment where a baby was dressed in girl clothes and then boy clothes. Adults were observed looking after the baby who was a stranger to them. When in girl clothes the interaction generally went along the lines of ‘what a pretty girl’ and the baby was held protectively and gently. In boy clothes the baby heard ‘what a big strong boy you are’ and held more firmly and played with more physically – tickling, held up high.

We are perhaps doing our society a misjustice and preventing a lot of people reaching their full potential though gender stereotyping.

@Seelix Home births are attended by midwives only and no doctor is normally involved. You’d be in hospital if you needed a doctor. Your baby is seen by a doctor a couple of days after birth for a check up, unless there is a more urgent need. A lot of births in UK, at home or in midwife led units in hospital, or for low risk births, only have midwives in attendance. Generally, unless you are a high risk pregnancy you will see a doctor once or twice only during your pregnancy anyway. For my second baby I saw only midwives, not one doctor.

Cruiser's avatar

I find it sad that these parents would use a newborn infant to make a socio-political statement…

“aWe’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place?”

Plus these early days is when a person begins to develop their identity and they are denying this child this most important stage of their life. I can’t imagine the torment they are setting this child up for when it is time for that child to choose the mens room or the ladies room.

I just hope this child will be luckier than Chrissy Lee Polis was.

Seelix's avatar

@Stinley – I know that when a mom chooses to be attended by a midwife that a doctor isn’t involved except in emergency situations, but at four months should the child not have had a checkup? I’m not a parent, so I don’t know when doctor visits are recommended, but even if the child is in perfect health, wouldn’t (s)he see a doctor at least once in those four months? I’m assuming the parents have a pediatrician, because they have two other kids.

marinelife's avatar

I dislike parents who burden their children with their own convictions. Like it or not, we live in a gendered world.

Who are these people to decide to experiment on a helpless child?

Stinley's avatar

@Seelix Sorry if that was a bit of a lecture! I’m just quite into the normalisation of birth and not seeing it as an illness or something that always needs medical care and get on my high horse a bit. Dismounted now….

I was also just thinking in terms of different cultures doing things differently and in the UK not seeing a doctor is not regarded as odd or child neglect, more a relief to the health service! So they might be out of step with their Canadian culture but in other similar cultures what they are doing is normal. My kids rarely see a doctor – only if they are ill – and apart from their newborn examination, I don’t think their genitals have ever been seen.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Gender may, indeed, be a social construct, but it’s not a recent innovation as is, for example, racism. I’m talking about since the beginning of the human race, here, folks. Gender is based on the actual physiological difference between males and females, and although it has been perverted for reasons of sexual agendas, it is as old as we are as a species. Women in the final stages of pregnancy and in the early stages of infant care did indeed need to be protected, as those are very vulnerable times. Like it or not, it’s somewhat ingrained in our instincts. The ones that were protected survived to breed, the ones that protected were the optimal genetic partners. Like it or not, the species is always one day away from primitive survival needs where those very factors could mean the difference between extinction or not. I am as rampantly against gender discrimination and stereotyping as anyone, perhaps more than some as I was consistently blocked from things because of my sex. Unfortunately, however, gender is a huge factor for the species that goes deeper than social mores.

iphigeneia's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf What I meant by open minded is that when people interact with Storm, they won’t be able to fall back on the gender-dependent behaviour described by @Stinley. Unless they just make a guess and go with that (admittedly quite likely), they will have to focus on the fact that the baby is Storm, and not just a boy or a girl.

@marinelife This isn’t an experiment. They’re not exactly testing a hypothesis here. I know there are parents who do take that attitude, which is wrong, but in this case I think the parents just see the way the world is going and want to prepare their children for that. Sure, their approach might be a bit more radical than most, but preparing their children for their futures is generally what parents do.

Society places a lot of importance on gender, but I think that children will be better off if they learn to be critical of it instead of just accepting it.

wundayatta's avatar

It won’t work. It never has. The child will identify with a gender sooner or later. Not necessarily the one whose anatomy they share.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@marinelife “Like it or not, we live in a gendered world.” – well we don’t like it, now what? We live in a “many kinds of world”, it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way and it. will. not. stay. that. way. What they’re ‘placing on their child’ is no different than what you ‘placed’ on yours when you raised them as a boy or a girl with all the ridiculous divisions attached to either. I love how when it comes to this kind of parenting or not feeding your kids meat, people think that now kids are being forced with ideologies as if raising them gendered or with meat is the nice, normal, appropriate default not at all bound by culture.
@Seelix I heard about parents doing this in other countries and yesterday a parent forwarded this article to me on Facebook. As I told her, I go back and forth on supporting this kind of parenting. Sure, it’s really radical but they might be on to something, truly on to something, what a liberating world it would be if we didn’t have to gender our children. I am also, however, about the child’s agency and choosing to be gender-neutral or gender non conforming on their own. I raise my kids in what I consider a gender-neutral manner as I write on my blog (if you want details, it’s on my profile page) but they know people have tagged them as boys. Deconstructing gender isn’t the simplest thing to explain to a 2 or a 4 year old and keeping their sex a secret won’t last because you can’t just keep them in a cocoon and the kids still learn that other people are gendered and sexed by society. I don’t gender my kids in my house and encourage other caretakers to not, as well, but in pre-school they get gendered and we do a lot of counterattacks, so to speak, to decondition them. For me, it’s more important that they see gender as a useless category rather than one they have to hide or not have. @wundayatta From what I know of trans and gnc youth these days, your statement is simply not true. Many of us don’t feel the need to pick one or the other. I predict that within a couple of decades, you will find more youth saying a big ‘fuck you’ to the binary rather than getting sex reassignment surgery. It kind of sucks that the only way out is to be the other gender. That’s not what some of us want.

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir do trans and gnc count as genders? I thought they did. However, if not, then you are correct.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I hope you don’t feel like I’m putting you on the spot, or trying to attack you.. because that is definitely not where I’m going with this. I hope that it is alright that I say so, but I have even seen you refer to your children as your “sons.” It’s quite clear that you raise them in a gender neutral manner, which I think is not only perfectly fine, but healthy. However, your own words encourage the importance of making gender useless or unimportant.
The family in the article almost gives me the impression that they are attaching a negative connotation to gender. That feels unnecessary to me. Although gender is clearly more complicated than “male” and “female,” I don’t believe that it is inherently bad all around. I agree that it should not be such a point of importance as it is currently viewed, but I don’t think that treating it like something completely negative is right, either. Just my opinion, of course, but I always worry about any situation that could be read as “too much of a good thing.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta It really depends on who you ask. Sure, it’s a category that I use…so technically it can be read as a gender identity but it’s like is atheism a kind of religion – some people think so. I’m not one of those people. To me, saying I’m gender non-conforming means I don’t conform to the idea that a gender binary is necessary or useful. Another person may say that, to them, being gender non-conforming means being one gender one day and another the other day or mixing it up. It’s highly personal.
@ANef_is_Enuf I don’t mind being put on the spot by you. I have called them sons, sure, it’s not a big deal – we have all been raised with certain cultural tropes that are hard to get rid of and I recognize that I ‘fall back’ on some every once in a while – it’s more about relating to other people than what I consider them to be. Sometimes I think of them as creatures but it doesn’t mean anything. As for whether the family believes gender norms to be negative, yes I believe they do. I believe gender norms to be entirely negative as well because they are placed on people and policed. However, I believe there are many expressions of gender or performances of gender that can be wonderful as long as people are free to practice them because they can be done in resistance, as a way of healing, as fun, etc. Since we have such a rich history and variety of gender vocabulary, almost, I don’t mind people playing around and writing stories, so to speak. I just can not and will not tolerate when someone says ‘you can’t do this, because you’re a girl’ or whatever.

Poser's avatar

I don’t understand what raising your child “as a boy” or “as a girl” means. I’m raising my son “as a boy” because he is actually a boy. I take him to do the things I like to do: shoot guns, surf, camp, sail, because those are the things that I like to do. I did some of those things with my parents (though certainly not all of them) when I was a kid because it was what they liked to do (both my mother and father). If one day I have a daughter, I’ll raise her “as a girl,” but I’ll still take her to do the same things. I’ll teach her the same things I’m teaching my son: how to fix his car, how to cook a steak or bake a cake, how to tie a tie, how to ride a bike, how to mow the lawn, how to express himself honestly. None of these things are gender-exclusive.

If my son has ever been confused about his identity, it certainly hasn’t been because of the way he’s been raised.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Poser Well, some people wouldn’t raise your daughter in the same way as your son, that’s the problem. It seems you don’t place much value on separating activities for your kids based on gender and I commend you.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree with you on the policing of gender, and I think that the pressure to fit the male/female mold is definitely negative. However, the way that you say “it’s not a big deal” feels like a significant statement. It shouldn’t be a big deal. It should be a non-issue, really. Unfortunately that is not the case, but I feel like making it negative, or making a big deal out of it by trying to shut it out completely is no better than forcing gender “norms.”

I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I just tend to feel like the extreme on either side of any issue is never the right answer. I am fearful that this family, although I believe their intentions are good, are doing just as much harm by making a big deal out of not enforcing a gender.. or even disclosing one… than they would be by doing the opposite. I think that treating it as if it were no big deal, or while giving a child the freedom to be themselves would be much healthier than a more extreme approach in either direction. Which, I believe, is not unlike the way you raise your kids… and frankly, how I have always planned to raise mine if I should ever have one of my own.

Seelix's avatar

I’m glad that @Simone_De_Beauvoir showed up for this one – I was very interested to read what you had to say.

And let me also say this to everyone: I’m giving every answer a GA regardless of whether I agree with your view (assuming it’s not just an outright attack, which hasn’t happened yet), because I appreciate your taking the time to look at the articles and to reply to the question. There are some answers with which I strongly disagree, but to be honest I just don’t have the time to reply right now. So I’ll be back later.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Right and that’s where I don’t always agree with couples like the one in Toronto. It’s not that they’re making it negative, it’s that by not addressing it (perhaps they are, I don’t know exactly what they say to their child or will say to their child), they’re making the issue of gender more salient than perhaps they ever wanted to. I think that when you focus more on raising kids with character and focus on certain strengths you want them to have, you can bypass the gender focus. When my oldest tells me something about ‘boys don’t do this or that’s for girls’, I make a very specific attempt to have him look me in the face and I say loud and clear ‘in your life, I want you to worry more about being a human being, a person with a good core rather than whether you’re a boy doing girl things’.

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir We’re talking about categorization theory. You are well aware that I don’t like the binary gender classification system, either. The question to me, is what a more sophisticated system would look like.

You could just look at it as a continuous scale and assign people percentages of where they are between the poles. But that, again, forces people to score things as if they are on a continuum. There could be more than two poles. How do you score that?

So what people come up with are categorization schemes where they try to lump like with like into categories that seem similar enough to be called the same thing. So you could be called multiple or variable identity gender, meaning you switch from one pole to another depending on how the wind is blowing that day. Or hour.

This would be a categorical classification system, and we would not have any idea how any one category relates to any other—at least, not with any precision. Probably not even close enough for government. No. Definitely not close enough for government. Which is why the Census forms do not stray from the binary system.

So gender non-comforming would be a category and so is trans and all the others, as well.

The issue really is a cultural one. Could anyone grow up without ever identifying as any particular gender, no matter what categorization system is used? I argue that gender is such an important concept in our society, that everyone would choose one. I consider “gender non-conforming” to be a gender category that is useful. You argue that it can not be put in a class with other genders. Maybe that it’s a lack of gender altogether?

But then, while atheism is not a religion, it does make sense to compare it to religion. Because religion is what it is not. Similarly, even if gender non-conforming is not a gender, it still makes perfect sense to compare it to gender, since that is what it is not.

Poser's avatar

@Simone De Bauvoir: That is my point. I didn’t encourage my son to “act like a boy.” He did it on his own. I didn’t encourage him to like “boy things.” He likes what he likes.

If Storm’s parents were interested only in the emotional health of their child, they would simply treat him/her the same way they treat their daughter. But it seems that they are the ones putting limitations on him/her (see, there isn’t even a pronoun that fits the way they are trying to raise him…her). It sounds like they will be extremely disapointed if (s)he decides (s)he wants to play cops and robbers or barbie. In other words, “You can’t identify with the ‘traditional’ idea of masculinity or femininity.”

I agree with @Cruiser. I hate to see this kid used in the same fashion as a picket sign.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree with you completely.

Blackberry's avatar

I also agree that although their intentions may be good, methods of introducing these things can always be improved upon.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta I don’t like the continuum that has two poles since it gives those two poles significance I don’t think they should have. I think of it as a circular kind of continuum and I think of it as having a space for people to stand outside the circle as well. Frankly, I don’t believe we need to code people according to gender anyhow but hell. @Poser I do want to mention that you’re not the only influence on your child’s gender identity just like I’m not the only one in my child’s life. A lot of parents say ’...but I swear I didn’t raise them to be gendered, he just gravitated towards trucks and the such and she to dolls…’ and they forget that kids are incredible at picking up the world around them and that they are very good are reading body language or people besides parents and that no parent is 100% gender-neutral in everything they do, etc. If my kids remained in my home, they wouldn’t know the word boy or ‘girls wear that’ since I have never uttered either and neither had my partner. But they have grandparents, they have friends and they have the outside world which we like to bring them into as often as is humanly possible. And the outside world is full of gender and I mean it’s EVERYWHERE and it would make no sense if my kids didn’t pick up that everyone thinks they’re boys. They think I’m a girl. I try to steer them away and say ‘I’m your mommy. I’m a person. I don’t need to be a girl’ and they don’t get it, obviously. But they will, when they grow up. It’s also important to me to say ‘that can be done by a girl or a boy or a trans person’. I use the word transgender around them all the time as a category. I say some people don’t care to be boys or girls or that some are both. I have many trans friends and just by virtue of being around trans people, my kids are going to be more understanding and by knowing their gender non conforming mother and a father who, truth be told, hates the concept of labeling himself a man as well.

Poser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Granted, and I am probably as close to a stereotypical male as one can get. But I think I also have a pretty open mind. Since parents are the largest influence on children, I’m certain he got some of his gender identity from me. But hopefully he will also pick up on some of my open-mindedness and take that with him into adulthood.

I will say, I was raised believing in fairly strict gender roles: boys do this, girls do this. But I never felt constrained by it. I never felt conflicted by it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Poser Oh definitely, many people do not and they have no issue with their gender and are perhaps constrained by other norms society places on them. Point is, gender and sexuality are two topics I focus on as they have always been personal and the focus of my extended activism. Obviously, we can also deconstruct race, class, ableism, etc. in the same fashion. At the end of the day, if you don’t feel constrained by gender, that’s cool just as long as you remember that you can be an ally to those who do.

Poser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Certainly, though I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who was constrained by gender.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Poser Dude, you have got to come over. I’ll show you my world and the people in it. Besides you don’t have to know anyone specifically. Just keep your eyes open for policies affecting trans folks and you’ll make a difference. Also, just because you don’t know anyone doesn’t mean you actually don’t know anyone – many people feel gender norms are stupid but the desire to perform them seamlessly and in accordance with others is more overpowering.

nikipedia's avatar

I’m not a parent and don’t know the first thing about parenting, but one thing really stood out in the article: the focus on letting the kids decide, everything from gender identification to clothing to schooling.

I really disagree with this as a general policy. I think it’s really important, especially for very young children, to provide structure and stability. I could be wrong and they could turn out to be fine, but I suspect the lack of structure is going to turn out to be problematic for them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia I do think structure helps kids out, not that it helps them grow up healthy. However, you can provide structure in terms of meals, nap times and activities. You don’t have to make gender be about structure. Obviously, I’d agree that they can choose their own clothes. As for education, well, I choose that for them because I don’t think they have enough information to make an informed decision but since I did consider the Brooklyn Free School as one of my top choices for them, I’m clearly also for them being in an educational environment where they choose what to study and how to learn. I can’t, however, afford BFS so my oldest is going to a ‘normal’ public elementary school. Fingers crossed. I am pretty suspicious of the U.S. elementary school education.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Poser actually, I feel constrained by gender. And probably in a very different way than what @Simone_De_Beauvoir is most familiar with (although I recognize that is a very multi-faceted set of circumstances, so that statement is probably a little bold.)

Anyhow, I’m a very much a girly-girl. I love to cook and clean and wear dresses. I have spent my entire life dreaming of being a stay at home mom, with a husband that works and comes home to dinner that I’ve prepared. About as classic and traditional a female role as it gets.

However, my mother raised my sisters and I with a heavy influence on being anything but girly girls. She wanted nothing more than a troupe of tomboys, because she is a tomboy.
I would never hesitate to do or try something that is “just for boys,” because I think that concept is absurd. I may love to bake, and I wear a frilly apron while I do it, but I also love video games and boxing.. which are typically viewed as masculine hobbies. The judgement that I do feel tends to be related to my very feminine habits. Like I am somehow singlehandedly holding women back from progressing past the traditional, submissive role that history has forced us into.
The truth of the matter is that this is who I am, and a traditionally feminine role is what makes me happy. How I came to be this way could be up for debate, and may never be “solved,” but considering that my mom wanted me to play football and roll around in the dirt rather than dress up in pink and tiaras certainly doesn’t support that it came from my parents.

In any event, even fitting into a very classic mold for females has lead me to run into a lot of walls. I do feel that I’ve experienced discrimination as a result. I can’t compare it to the struggles of many that have had to deal with significantly life-altering regarding their gender, but my own experience makes me even more empathetic.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Thank you for sharing that, really. I get why some people would make you feel shamed for being feminine. Even in the queer community, femmes are bothered all the time about holding someone back. Here’s the thing. A lot of moms these days (tomboys hate the word and not) have realized that the one dimensional princess mold they’re expected to place their girls into these days (believe it or not, the disneyfication of girls wasn’t this bad in the 50s even though real societal roles for women were much less accepted) sucks. They want their girls to explore different things but all their girls want is to wear yet another fluffy tu-tu to that flutty tu-tu party and these mothers don’t all identify as feminists or think gender is a problem. They’re just worried that their kids aren’t well-rounded and so they become pretty anti-princess and pretty anti-pink (these are probably not the same people that have bothered you, though) and on the surface it may come off as if they’re pushing something feminine to destruction. But they’re not, they’re pushing the expectation that there is only one appropriate way to be feminine to destruction. So, ironically, you’d stand with them as well because your way is okay and so is theirs. We just have to tease out what’s being done to children systemically and by what industries and what are individual gender choices people like you are making well into adulthood. Obviously, if being the way you are is what makes you happy, I can’t imagine why anyone would have an issue because I gather you have figured out there are other options. I just worry for the girls who aren’t brave enough or don’t know that there are other options. That’s why, on the one hand, it bothers me when my boys reject things girly because we shouldn’t devalue things associated with girls but, on the other hand, things associated with girls are so vapid sometimes (like little meni/pedi kits for toddlers) that I want to devalue them and would never have my girl child be dressed in the way toddler girls are shown to be dressed on clothing websites. It’s just unfortunate when being girly is conflated with a couple of vain concepts but that’s how things are presented these days. Pretty hard to figure it all out.

Poser's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf In other words, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction? I have heard from other women who were content in more “traditional” roles that they had experienced animosity from working women (and I realize the inherent discrimination contained withing that term, but be assured I mean no offense by it). Social change is slow.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir again, I agree with you. I suspect that not everyone is as well balanced on the issue as you (and I’m sure many people) are. I think that extremism is just something that human beings tend to gravitate toward, and that is just something that will never be fully avoided, regardless of the issue. And, as for “standing with them,” well I most certainly hope so. Because I believe that we share the same values. I just think that some people, not all, jump to conclusions because of my choice to really embrace the traditional feminine role.
@Poser essentially, yes, that is exactly it. I fear the extreme in either direction, as I said in earlier posts. There just has to be a happy medium. I don’t think the intention is bad, not at all, I just fear either extreme.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Poser The wars between SAHMs (stay at home moms) and working moms (a war concerning mostly white women since women of color were always working) rage on and the reasons behind them are various. I think it’s not even about the pendulum swinging this way or that but it’s about people needing external validation for their choices and ways of raising children and that kind of need never goes away, it seems and no matter where we are, what we’re doing, we’re telling others they’re doing it wrong. I do it too. We all do it.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir right, there are far too many options and choices in life to think that for one moment we all might agree unanimously. ;)

marinelife's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir it. will. not. stay. that. way. That is your hope. I believe the boundaries of gender will stretch, but it will not go away. Certainly not in the lifetime of this child. I think it is cruel for gendered parents who do not live their own beliefs to experiment with their children. Those children have to live in the world that is not the world their parents want it to be. They have to go to school with other kids who are often cruel. What kind of warped sexuality or gender might result? What if the child commits suicide from the pressure (as many teens do)? This is not the way for people to express their convictions.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@marinelife while I agree that parents should not “experiment” with their children, and that they should not use them as living picket signs… I really don’t understand what you mean by “what kind of warped sexuality or gender might result?”
I would also be concerned about teasing and the issues that the child will deal with being raised in such a different way from their peers, but I don’t understand why you think it would affect their sexuality? And… what exactly determines if a sexuality or gender is “warped?”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Well, we might agree that being a mother is hard work and that we all love our children. @marinelife Yes, that is my hope but my hope isn’t what matters here. What matters here is that the whole world isn’t what you think it is because things are changing. In my community, people who are straight and ‘properly gendered’ are far and few between. My kids can be raised amongst polyamorous vegan commies and would be none the wiser about what ‘the majority’ are doing. That’s all culture is – a bunch of people doing things in the same way and all agreeing that’s a good way. When the number of us increases, the notion that what we’re doing is deviant will decrease. Sure my kids will meet other kids and those kids might be mean and all that but as my kids grow up, they will know a more accepting world than one I’ve seen even 10 years ago.

As to the point about suicide, it’s ironic…but you know who commits suicide a whole lot? trans kids that are abandoned by their properly gendered parents at the ripe age of 14. I can show you dozens of them hanging out on the piers here in Brooklyn and the city. What did their parents do that was so right? Not much.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I wish that I could agree with that statement, because it should be true. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is always the case. Some mothers do not inherently love their children, sad as it may be. It is a beautiful sentiment, though, and it ought to be true.

Allie's avatar

I’m sure these parents have the best interest of their child at heart. The other kids look happy and healthy – that’s what matters most.
Personally, I wouldn’t raise my child that way. As someone earlier said, and I agree with, I would raise them as the gender they are and if later in life they feel as though they shouldn’t be a male or a female then that’s ok, they’d still be my child.
I think it might cause some problems later in life when the kid goes to school or has to face taunting or questioning from peers and parents of peers (who can be equally as cruel). Eventually this kid is going to feel like either a male or female. I’m guessing that the parents will let the child dress and act however (s)he wants then? What if she wants to be a very typical girly-girl? What if he wants to be a very typical girly-girl?
I’m not outright criticizing the parents. It’s their choice how they want to raise their child. I wouldn’t parent this way, but I’m still curious to see what happens in 10, 15, 20 years. I hope they do follow-up stories then.
Not as tragic or extreme, but this reminded me of David Reimer.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Allie I don’t think every kid eventually feels male or female. I don’t even know what ‘feeling female’ is like anymore but I know that I used to feel it. Just can’t quite remember what I came up with when I used to say ‘Man, I feel like a woman’.

Allie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir In the case of David and thousands of other individuals who switch genders at some point in life, it’s not uncommon to hear that they didn’t feel like whichever gender they were. Maybe being raised genderless will mean that Storm doesn’t feel any gender at all…. for now. But eventually this child will have to interact with people who might impose a gender on him/her. They’re going to refer to Storm as “he” or “she” and depending on that gender think that Storm should and shouldn’t do certain things.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Allie Well, there are two things there I want to address. When an individual doesn’t feel they’re the gender they were raised, it doesn’t always mean that, therefore, they feel like the ‘other gender’ (though it does, for some people, as you say). Sometimes, they feel that there isn’t a gender category that feels like them or that they even need one. The second thing you mention is perception by others. Yes, how others will label Storm will make a difference but that doesn’t mean Storm will feel like that gender. People read me as a woman all the time (I don’t take steps to not look like one, whatever that means) but I do not ‘feel like a woman’ and have no difficulty separating that what people think I am is not what I think I am. I sure hope, for all of our sakes, that it’s more important how we perceive ourselves than how others perceive us.

Allie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think this family is going to do a pretty good job of making Storm feel comfortable in his/her own skin. As I said, the older kids seem happy and healthy and Jazz doesn’t fit standard gender norms, but he seems to know who he is. Kids are very resilient though, and I just hope that this self-confidence continues for all of the children when they reach junior high/high school age.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Allie I hope that for all kids, though – kids face bullies regardless of their gender. Also, is anyone else thinking these parents are naming their kids x-men-like names?

Poser's avatar

I don’t feel like a man. I just am one.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Poser Well, semantics or not, for some people..when they’re asked what ‘being a man’ is like they describe a bunch of biology and then talk about feelings – it’s about embodiment of gender but that embodiment isn’t the same for all. I don’t feel like a woman and I am not one. I have had people tell me I am just because they think I am. Just yesterday, a friend of mine condescendingly said ‘I know you don’t feel like a woman and that’s fine but you so clearly are’ – that was his gender knowledge talking, not mine. And it didn’t feel good.

Blackberry's avatar

“Also, is anyone else thinking these parents are naming their kids x-men-like names?”
Lol! Yes.

creative1's avatar

I think its wonderful and refreshing rather than making this big decision that isn’t the parents to make as to what gender role this child is, they are letting the child grow up first. You hear these horror stories of kids born like this wanting to be the other gender than what their parents choose and they now not only went through all these surgeries to become the gender that they were assigned now if they want to change it will be a whole other set of surgeries. Sometimes these kids are actually born with sex organs that work when they hit puberty and if given the time the can discover this before ripping this from them.

DominicX's avatar

We keep talking about “gender” here, but the parents are also keeping the child’s biological sex a secret as well. I was under the impression that these two are not the same thing, but we seem to be treating them the same way. I don’t exactly see the point in this because at some point in the child’s life, the biological sex will become important and it will show up. But then again, even after years of being on Q&A sites and discussing similar topics, I still don’t quite understand the difference between “sex” and “gender”.

I doubt I would raise my kids this way, but I would try and raise them the way I was raised. My parents didn’t keep my gender a secret and I wore boy’s clothes and all that and so it was obvious. But when I told them that I wanted a baby doll, pink sunglasses, and an EasyBake oven, they got those things for me rather than tell me that boys don’t play with those things. They even went as far as to not freak out when I would dress up in girls’ clothes and even pretend I had a girl’s name. They were just completely open to what I wanted to do, even if it when against “gender norms”. I wouldn’t enforce things like that on my children, but I would recognize that biological sex can’t simply be ignored.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

I have to admit I’m still a little confused by the concept of “feeling like a man”. Even though as a young child I liked many stereotypical feminine things and still do to some extent, I’ve never felt like the other gender or that I should’ve been. It’s hard to describe…

But I suppose I think that this child will not identify with either gender until they learn from society what “goes with” their biological sex. And that seems unavoidable to me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DominicX No, they’re not the same thing but yes, sometimes, we use it interchangeably (well I do, given my conversation peers). Sex refers to biological markers, gender to social. I feel both are constructed (gender more so than sex) and legitimized in legal and everyday ways. As to whether they’ll learn what goes with their sex, yes they will. As to whether one needs to ‘feel like a man’ to be a man, that’s up to the man. It’s all made up anyway. And no, I don’t mean that in a negative way.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ok by me. Better than spoon feeding the kid religion.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I don’t really have an opinion
But why these mofos be trippin’
Gender is a socially constructed concept
I don’t have much to say, east coast REPRESENT.

wundayatta's avatar

There are two perception sets here, and I think they matter in different ways. On the one hand, you have an individual’s perception of their own gender or lack thereof. On the other, you have the way other people assign a gender to that individual.

However people assign a gender to you, then, in their view, that’s what you are. For example, on fluther, many people decided dog was a man, and presumably related to her that way for months or years before finding out she is a woman. One might ask how that affected people’s relationships with her?

In fact, fluther is kind of an in vivo experiment about gender. I know there are people with a a number of different genders here, but I don’t know much about the specifics of individual cases. Just that some people are somewhere in the process of transforming from one to the other. There are others that identify as gender non-conforming.

Do these terms mean anything in terms of the way people relate? Maybe in a person’s mind, they know how someone self-identifies, but it really doesn’t matter. In the other person’s mind that individual is a woman or a man or whatever. People may not fit themselves in the binary gender system, but I’ll bet that most other people put them in one category or another for purposes of relating to them.

I really don’t think that the name of the gender matters one bit. What matters is the expectations you have based on the gender you’ve decided that other person is. If you have open expectations, and you don’t expect people to conform to societal prejudices about the genders, then you can call a gender any name you want, and it doesn’t matter. If you do believe in the stereotypes, then it doesn’t matter what you call yourself, the other person will treat you as if you are the gender they have assigned to you.

What I’m saying is that is isn’t about what you identify as. That’s how you describe yourself to the world, but that has little to do with how most people relate to you. Most people are strangers and have no idea how you describe yourself. So they relate to you according to their expectations of how someone who looks like you will behave.

For people who do care about who you say you are, they will pay attention to your self-description and they also may try to relate to you in a way they imagine you want them to relate to you. If people don’t care what you think, then they are like all the people who don’t know you.

The important aspect of people who don’t care or don’t know how you identify yourself is whether they will change their idea of how to relate to you when they find out more information about you. If they are respectful, they will care what you think and change accordingly. If they don’t give a shit, they will continue to see you as who they see you as.

In the end, I have to wonder if the effort to introduce new genders or new consciousness into the world is about the same thing that the battles to get people to stop stereotyping children’s sex roles were about in the 70s and 80s. I.e., it’s about freedom to be who you want to be without being pressured by the expectations of others. It is about carving out a space for people to be truly free of social pressure. A place where no one will come to feel bad about themselves because others are telling them they are wrong to act the way they do.

Do names matter? Sure, they matter in marketing. They matter as a way of putting a face to a story. But in the end, who cares? What truly matters is how people behave. Does marketing make a difference in gaining more freedom for people? I’d like to say of course it does. But in an area like this, I suspect that people prejudices are much stronger than any marketing effort. I hope I’m wrong.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth Just wanted to respond to some of your thoughts.

1. “Gender may, indeed, be a social construct, but it’s not a recent innovation as is, for example, racism. I’m talking about since the beginning of the human race, here, folks.”
Just because we now understand certain human interactions such as religion, the need (apparently) for gender norms, etc. doesn’t mean they’re recent inventions or innovations. Racism always existed even if it wasn’t called that, same for sexism and patriarchy.

2. “Gender is based on the actual physiological difference between males and females, and although it has been perverted for reasons of sexual agendas, it is as old as we are as a species.” Yes, it is a social construct based around biological markers that we have grouped together and gave them properties that not all people have. Physiological difference does exist but to make these differences into such a big deal as genders are is ridiculous. Sometimes, there are more differences (take hormones for example) within a group of women than between men and women. So having these binary categories of sex may be fun for taxonomists who enjoy categorization but when it comes to people, it serves few purposes.

3 “Women in the final stages of pregnancy and in the early stages of infant care did indeed need to be protected, as those are very vulnerable times. Like it or not, it’s somewhat ingrained in our instincts. The ones that were protected survived to breed, the ones that protected were the optimal genetic partners.” Of course pregnant people need to be protected and they’re often protected by not pregnant people. Yet it beats how from that kind of arrangement we get to a day and age where my boys can’t have long hair.

4.“Like it or not, the species is always one day away from primitive survival needs where those very factors could mean the difference between extinction or not. I am as rampantly against gender discrimination and stereotyping as anyone, perhaps more than some as I was consistently blocked from things because of my sex. Unfortunately, however, gender is a huge factor for the species that goes deeper than social mores” There goes that ‘like it or not’ phrase again, which I am slowly beginning to despise. I’m sure someone told you ‘like it or not but women just don’t have babies on their own’ and you told them to fuck off, no one told you to go sit and be pregnant and be protected by men or if they did, how much sense did that make? I mean, really.

Seelix's avatar

Earlier I mentioned that I see this issue as similar to the issue of religion. Many parents, religious and not, choose not to impose any religion on their kids. Once the kids are old enough to understand, they learn about different religions and choose one or none or several. I see this gender thing as the same. Why is is so much more acceptable to not teach religion at an early age?

@DominicX – I agree that sex and gender are different ideas as well. Because the baby isn’t able to vocally express his/her gender, the parents are just keeping his/her sex a secret so that a gender isn’t imposed on him/her by society. Once the kid’s able to self-identify as a boy, girl or both or neither, (s)he’s both or neither.

@marinelife“I think it is cruel for gendered parents who do not live their own beliefs to experiment with their children.”
I don’t think the article went into enough depth regarding the parents for you to make this assumption. Yes, they are gendered, but personally, I think that may have a lot to do with the fact that they were raised as male and female from birth. Mom has, since a young age, been called female by her family and by society. Dad has been called male. Would they feel differently if they had had a “genderless” childhood like their children? We don’t know. We see that Jazz, the 5-year-old, is beginning to identify as male though his choices regarding his appearance could be interpreted as feminine. Kio is only 2, so we can’t say what he’ll end up feeling.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir“It’s not that they’re making it negative, it’s that by not addressing it (perhaps they are, I don’t know exactly what they say to their child or will say to their child), they’re making the issue of gender more salient than perhaps they ever wanted to.”
Absolutely. Perfectly said. I do kind of have the feeling, though, that if someone hadn’t gotten wind of the couple and turned it into a newspaper story, it’d be less an issue than it is.

@nikipedia”...the focus on letting the kids decide, everything from gender identification to clothing to schooling. I really disagree with this as a general policy. I think it’s really important, especially for very young children, to provide structure and stability.”
I definitely agree with what you’ve said. Again, though, I have a sneaking suspicion that the kids don’t have the run of the house, as it were. The article doesn’t talk a heck of a lot about the family’s home life, but I would think (or at least hope) that Mom & Dad set the rules and the kids get to decide between options. I mean, when it’s said that the children choose their own clothes, I’m sure that means that they’re taken to a store and allowed to choose from both the boys’ and girls’ sections; not that they’re allowed to wear bathing suits in the winter or something like that.

@Poser“If Storm’s parents were interested only in the emotional health of their child, they would simply treat him/her the same way they treat their daughter.”
I just wanted to say – the two older kids in the family are boys. Storm’s sex hasn’t been divulged.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta You’re right. Generally, I surround myself with people who don’t relate to me based on gender because why should they? If they don’t feel like adjusting their worldview once they know what’s important to me, their loss. @Seelix I agree. When Alex and I read about the story, we said ‘well that’s what we do, basically, just not on TV’.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I think it’s awful to place that sort of pressure on children. Not only for the infant, Storm, who has no idea that Storm’s parents have made Storm an “IT” instead of a baby, but also for the older brothers who are told they must keep the baby’s sex a secret.

I think it’s awful to project your own social issues onto your newborn, and to use that newborn for experimentation.

I do NOT think it’s awful to let children be who they want to be, wear what they want to wear, and play with whatever toy they want to play with. I’m not a “standard redneck” when it comes to things like that. I love being the mother of two girls, but I don’t give a crap if they want to do “boy things”. My oldest chose to portray a man in her Wax Museum project this year. I told her to go for it.

I just see a HUGE difference between letting kids be whoever they want to be, and making the choice FOR THEM to not be identified as male or female and thereby stripping the choice away from the child. If my daughters want to wear clothes designed for boys, then so be it, but for holy fuck’s sake, they have “vaginas”- they’re GIRLS.

I refuse to have people not know how to refer to my kids or how to talk about my kids, except to say stupid, redundant sentences like “Jade doesn’t understand this because Jade is not grasping the concept of Jade’s classwork from earlier today before Jade went to lunch.” Or you could just cap it off from the getgo with hurtful sentences that I’m sure Storm will hear before too long: “Jade doesn’t understand this because it is not grasping the concept of it’s classwork from earlier before it went to lunch.” Storm is now an “IT” instead of a he or she, and that is just plain wrong.

A person is a he/she unless they choose to have themselves surgically altered. I wear quite a bit of men’s clothing because it’s comfortable, and I enjoy a lot of “guy things”, but I’m still a she. If I had surgery to change that, then I would be a he.

You can be WHOEVER you want to be, but you can’t get away from WHAT you are. I’m also a “white human”. I can’t one day just decide to start telling people I’m a “black cat”. I am what I am and that’s all that I am, are you what you are, or what?

jellyfish3232's avatar

Absolutely unbelievable. Some psychologist is gonna make a lot of money off of those kids… All of them. They should be encouraged to choose their paths in life, but to have no idea of social normality at all is just ridiculous. Those parents are causing many, many problems.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate For some reason I just don’t think anyone (whether they agree or not) thinks this baby is being an ‘it’ instead of a child. And @jellyfish3232 it doesn’t seem like they don’t have an idea of social normality (why is that a special thing, btw) – it’s just that the concept of no gender makes many people uncomfortable. And yes because of that many pscyhologists will make money on the people who will need to talk to them about this horrible couple in Toronto doing what they can only wish they’d have the balls to do and that is free their children from society’s instructions of behavior based on genitals.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I just see a HUGE difference between letting kids be whoever they want to be, and making the choice FOR THEM to not be identified as male or female and thereby stripping the choice away from the child. If my daughters want to wear clothes designed for boys, then so be it, but for holy fuck’s sake, they have “vaginas”- they’re GIRLS.

I completely agree. This is precisely how I feel about my son and his choices. Heck, he told me straight out in a conversation yesterday that he prefers “girls things to boys things” when we were talking about games to play. He also says in very plain speech that he is a boy. When he draws himself, he draws a very boy-like version of himself, even if he doesn’t appear boy-like that day.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover So am I reading correctly that as long as he states he is a boy and draws very boy like images of himself, he can do ‘girly things’? When is the line for you crossed? In that, if he doesn’t state he is a boy and wants to do girly things, do those things then become problematic, for you? And when we reinforce concepts of boys and girls, do we not take choice away from kids as well? Not egging you on, just trying to tease things out for myself and for all of us. I think when people get so up in arms about what this couple is doing it’s very telling about how fragile this gender construct is.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No. He can be any gender he wants. He is a boy. I have asked him: He says to us that he thinks of himself as a boy.

If he were born into the “wrong” body as many transgender people say they have been (or so I have seen on Oprah with this boy that is now living as a girl) then my husband & I would allow him to live and be as he/she feels most comfortable.

It’d be great for the parents to leave this up to their child, IMO, once the child gets older. I just personally don’t grasp the concept of raising a baby as a non-gender, unless the baby were born a hermaphrodite.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover I wish it would be left up to a child too. But that simply doesn’t happen because no child lives in a vacuum and as I said previously, gendered messages are everywhere and kids pick up on not being as accepted if they don’t do things associated with ‘their group’ so they simply develop a dislike for activities they would like to try. I love that your child is self-assured enough to say he likes doing girly things over boyly (new words, everyone) things. As for the intersex person (the word hermaphrodite is not liked in the intersex community), they actually get ever the more drastic gendering because parents are even more freaked out that the genitals of their baby aren’t clear. Thus the ridiculously unnecessary and awful surgeries done on intersex infants to make them ‘fit’ – that’s the result of our ‘objective’ and ‘normal’ society, infants whose bodies are mutilated because everyone is so afraid of having a baby whose sex/gender others won’t be able to read. Most intersex infants are shaped into girls (easier to cut than to build up a penis, after all) and, as adults, are outraged that this happened to them without consent. Perhaps Storm will too be outraged, let’s see.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Thus the ridiculously unnecessary and awful surgeries done on intersex infants to make them ‘fit’ – that’s the result of our ‘objective’ and ‘normal’ society, infants whose bodies are mutilated because everyone is so afraid of having a baby whose sex/gender others won’t be able to read.

This is exactly why I mentioned that @Simone_De_Beauvoir. I’ve seen/read stories about intersex (sorry I am learning the vocab…and will try my best to remember it) individuals. What their parents/families do to them is unconscionable. That is why I think that is the only time I, as a parent, would raise an gender unspecified child. I’d let the child consider which clothes/toys-etc.

In most situations I have seen where parents “leave it up to the kids”, the kids seem to choose to be even stronger gender/sex identified.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Just in general, here are some resources:
1. Cinderella Ate My Daughter
2. Sexing The Body
3. BrainStorm

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover Some parents of intersex kids are very informed and do hold off on surgeries until the child can make that decision but they still choose to raise it with a gender so that the child doesn’t experience issues (brought on by others, not that there are actual issues with the idea) As to the last point, maybe it just seems that way. Kind of anecdotal.

aprilsimnel's avatar

If they can figure out a way to resist everyone else labeling and gendering their child, then good on ‘em and I wish them luck. People do love their little boxes, if only because they don’t want to constantly have to think about how to deal with each individual on their specific level. Also, as the child grows older, they will probably gender themselves in an attempt to fit in with other kids somewhere on the social spectrum. It’s hard to be that odd kid out.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It’s not that the baby IS an “it”, it’s that because of the parents’ ridiculous decision to play “hide the gender”, that’s how the child will be identified by many people. No one knows how to refer to this child, and that’s the only pronoun that fits. You can’t say HE didn’t brush HIS teeth, you can’t say SHE didn’t brush HER teeth, so there’s nothing left except “IT didn’t brush IT’S teeth”.

I don’t understand why they couldn’t have just treated Storm as their other two children. Let the kid be a boy or a girl, yet act as whatever gender the kid chooses. Clearly they dont have a problem with having two other sons who like to wear pink tutus. Why the fuck couldn’t they have done the same with their third child? I have a sneaking suspicion they did it to get attention focused on them and their beliefs.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Here’s the thing though, I don’t think many people will think ‘oh it’s an it because we don’t know the baby’s sex.’ Simple as that. If no one can figure out how to refer to the child (there are gender neutral pronouns, or you can use ‘they’ or just their name), they’re pretty dumb in my book, actually. Language is something we made up, it’s dynamic and we can add to it instead of closing our ears and screaming ‘NOO! Vagina, vagina – girl!’ I ask my friends to not use feminine pronouns with me so they refer to me as Simone or use the gender neutral term ‘ze’ (in place of your great ‘it) or ‘hir’ (in place of her/his) and that’s how I like it. When I became friends with a best friend who’s trans over a decade ago, it took adjusting but it’s no big deal now to use whatever preferred pronouns all my trans friend want. You and I and all of us ARE capable of stretching our minds beyond the binary and it’s no big deal. I haven’t been to a caucus/group/meeting that hasn’t started with ‘please share your name and pgp (preferred gender pronoun)’ in years. As to what people do for attention, well there are plleeeeehnty of dumb parents out there, you know that, if you want to talk about that, we can take pageant moms and burn them. (though I don’t think anyone should actually be burned but bad parenting is rampant and bad parenting with gender norms is even worse and I don’t know how ‘regular’ parenting is any better than this ‘attention seeking’ parenting – the only reason why it gets attention is because people don’t like it). This issue needs to be talked about.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Some parents of intersex kids are very informed

This is true, nowadays @Simone_De_Beauvoir. When I first saw a transgender girl on the Phil Donohue show as a kid, I thought her parents were messed up. They made him become a her through a ton of painful surgeries.

Honestly, it was eye-opening. As was the Oprah show I linked above. That show was the reason I asked my son if he’d just prefer to wear dresses everyday, or if dresses were just for playing dress up.

He says he’s a boy that prefers girl stuff. He says when he grows up he’ll get married and dress like daddy. That was enough for me to realize, at least for now, he does not gender identify himself as a girl…his drawings back those thoughts up. In his drawings, he often identifies himself as looking like “typical” boys (baseball caps & tennis shoes…or suits/tuxedos…evn though he rarely dresses as such).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover Well just because someone is trans (since trans and intersex aren’t always the same thing, in fact rarely so) doesn’t mean surgery is necessary. I steer clear of anything Oprah does, it sensationalizes issues and doesn’t leave room for much else that’s out there and from that point on, everyone thinks they know about trans issues because they saw that one kid on Oprah – one kid doesn’t all of our experiences make. and thanks for sharing about your kid, he sounds lovely.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Also, I really would love it if any of you check out my gender-neutral parenting blog so that we can continue (possibly) these conversations later.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Okay, I can get other adults learning to use different terms like “ze” or “hir” to refer to the child, but most kids don’t understand things like that. They view each other as boy/girl in regular day to day life. I just have a terrible feeling that this kid is going to be teased mercilessly, which is really sad because kids are already teased enough about trivial things like their hair, clothes, wearing glasses and so on.

It’s not fair of the parents to project their beliefs onto a child who has no say in the matter as of yet. I really see more of a negative impact in the long run, than a positive one. They should have just let everyone know “Hey the baby is a boy (or a girl) but feel free to buy pink (or blue) onesies, because we really don’t care about labels like that”. That would have been a more healthy way to deal with it.

Seelix's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate“It’s not fair of the parents to project their beliefs onto a child who has no say in the matter as of yet.”
It could be said that it’s not fair of society to project their norms onto a child who has no say in the matter as of yet.

If you look at sex and gender as two separate ideas – sex being biological (what parts you have, whether you’re chromosomally XX or XY) and gender being more how you feel (whether you personally identify as male, female, both or neither), no baby has a gender until (s)he can speak, or even later. I think that these parents, and others who resist gender norms, are just allowing the kids to self-identify when they can. Now, not everyone would go so far as to hide the sex of their child, and I agree that it’s probably not the best way to go about teaching gender non-conformity, but I really don’t think this kid will be any more messed up than any other whose parents don’t restrict their choices in clothing, toys, etc. Storm is only 4 months old – we can’t assume or predict how the parents will behave when (s)he gets to be of the age where (s)he can speak and self-identify. The article states that the parents will keep the child’s sex under wraps for as long as the family (including Storm) is comfortable with it. That means that if (s)he, at age 2, busts out with “I’m a girl!” or “I’m a boy!” or any combination, that’s how (s)he’ll identify.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I just wanted to add that I think comments to the effect that “It’s wrong to push your socio-political beliefs on children” are kind of ironic; aren’t gender norms themselves socio-political beliefs? Or does it not count when yours roughly match up to those of society?

Back to reading the rest of the post for me.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Simone

I’m only going to disagree with you slightly on one little point here (because I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of your basic approach to issues of gender, etc).

The point I wish to discuss is this. Yes, there are far too many trans kids who end up committing suicide and our society in general is pretty rigid about gender expectations. However, I’m willing to wager that those who choose to end their lives do so primary due to the non-acceptance of their OWN PARENTS rather than a rigid society. A kid can deal resiliently with a surprising amount of the crap society tries to impose if that kid knows that his parents unconditionally love and accept him however s/he is in the world. Our own DominicX is a pretty good case in point.

The influence of the child’s parents is immense and I think it’s often underestimated.

These parents have a noble goal but methinks they’re trying way way too hard to ensure that their child won’t grow up feeling gender pressured by society. The other two kids seem to be doing just fine even tho they both know what gender they were at birth. They will be secure in the knowledge that they are free to choose whatever they do, wear, or play with regardless of how society perceives it.

And the same is true for your own kids as well because you are actively aware.

The whole refusal to name a gender for their child is a bit of overkill, IMHO. I just hope that they have the good sense to drop this whole pretense when the child becomes old enough to be aware of this and thinks they need to participate in maintaining this artifice.

I honestly don’t feel that it’s useful or helpful FOR THE CHILD’s SAKE but merely serves as a social statement by the parents. As long as the child is still an infant, I don’t see much harm done. If it makes other adults uncomfortable, too bad for them.

But the second it becomes onerous to the child or his siblings, they’d better have the good sense to knock it off. It’s not right to burden young children with being the purveyours of the parent’s social, moral or political agendas. They’re little kids. Just give them a happy childhood filled with love and acceptance and let them choose their own crusades when they’re older.

I feel the exact same way as I do toward parents who have their children holding up placards with photos of a dead foetus on them to protest abortion clinics. Your kids were not born into this world to carry out your agendas.

These parents who are refusing to divulge the sex of their 4 month old infant seem to be under the illusion that they’re doing it for the child’s sake. They’re not.

It’s not necessary to go to that extreme. Just love and accept them and that will be the most important protection they need to stand against whatever rigid mores society tries to impose.

When I first began to read this Q, I was under the impression that they were doing this because the child was born intersex, but evidently not.

But it caused me to remember about one person in a very good documentary on intersex people who never had surgery imposed as a child and still lives as a gender fluid adult who feels no need to be constricted by societal expectations.

In hearing the story I realized that the PRIMARY reason for this was that Hida had two uncommonly well educated and accepting parents who forbade the intervention of either surgery or hormones. I’m sure that while growing up, there were plenty of battles with society’s constraints. But they were no match for the influence of loving accepting parents.

Would that every trans/intersex person could be blessed with patents like that.

Those interested in more info:

hidaviloria.com/about.html

hidaviloria.com

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Buttonstc I want to really agree with you because that means my children will feel really supported in whatever their gender expression turns out to be. @WillWorkForChocolate Listen, if kids can learn all the new vocabulary having to do with their generation, they can learn how to address trans people. It’s not that hard to go from ‘there are two categories’ to ‘there are more than two categories’ – I’ve done it with my kids, they get it, I’m pretty sure yours are just as bright. They learn the world from you in many ways and if you treat it like no big deal, they will too.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I bought mostly trucks, legos, blocks, science kits, construction stuff, all kinds of balls… she loved them… in pink, with sparkles, and a tutu and tiara…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@BarnacleBill Right, girls can do that. Yet boys can’t have the tutu.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Just sayin’, I saw Hida on Oprah, too

leopardgecko123's avatar

Crazy parents not to take the kid to a doctor. Did they call it “genderless” because they wanted to, or can they not tell. That’s just a weird story.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think the parents should also put aside money on a regular basis for a therapist for when that kid’s hormones kick in. Can you imagine not only dealing with your sexual attractions but also trying to define yourself in order to figure out how you will approach your attractions to get what you want and to be accepted? Gah.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Sorry, misread, disregard. No more tired fluthering.

ETpro's avatar

Sorry to chime in so late. What an interesting story I am sure that at some point, the child will figure out for themselves how they feel about gender. But this barve couple’s move does highlight how obsessed we tend to be on what’s between someone’s legs. It really isn’t as important as what’s between their ears.

Funny, I was thinking this morning about an iddividual I met years ago at a party. Had the guy that brought this date not told me, I would have just accepter that his date was an attractive young lady. But it turned out she was a transsexual still waiting for sex reasignment surgery. She technically was a he. She was 18 at the time, and such a convincing woman, with a soft, naturally feminine voice, that I didn’t believe it. She took me into the bathroom and proved it.

She had extremely understanding parents who recognized very early that their boy didn’t want to be a boy. They got him to professional care in his early teens and he’d been on hormone therapy ever since. Hence the feminine voice and secondary sex characteristics of face and form.

Maybe someday in the future, we will be more concerned with who people really are. Maybe we can even escape the notion that executive hair makes a person a great and intelligent leader. :-)

rooeytoo's avatar

I think it is impossible to raise a child without it being aware of the culturally imposed gender roles. Unless of course, the child is brought up in the middle of nowhere with no access to newspapers, mags or telly. Because really, it doesn’t matter what you tell your kid, the moment he/she gazes upon any of these their role in society is starting to be hammered home. If you are a boy you are to like fast cars and sports, if you are a girl you are not to like fast cars and sports, you are to like dressing up to distract the boys from their obsession with fast cars and sports (and apparently breasts).

So if these folks want to try, what is it to anyone else, let them do it their way, I don’t see that it is going to have a great effect on the child. It says they are allowing the child to personally decide, but it is going to be difficult for the child not to be influenced by the world around us.

Seelix's avatar

@leopardgecko123 – We don’t know that the parents haven’t taken the kid to a doctor. I asked the same question earlier and @SpatzieLover pointed out that although kids may see a doctor for a checkup, the exam doesn’t necessarily include complete nudity on the child’s part.

I think everyone really ought to calm their initial reactions and think about this for a second: Do you really think they’re going to make the child continue to be “genderless” for his/her entire life? Really? Come on now, that’s just ridiculous. The parents seem like normal people who don’t like the idea of gender stereotypes. You all know @Simone_De_Beauvoir, right? Great person. Well, these parents are doing pretty much the same thing that ze and hir husband do (Oh! Look at those pronouns! That was hard, lemme tell ya~) with their kids. It’s just that these parents are taking it a step further. They have said that they’ll keep Storm’s sex a secret for as long as they’re all comfortable with it. That means that if, when the child starts to speak for him/herself, (s)he can make up his/her own mind about whether (s)he wants to identify as male/female/both/neither.

Here’s my question: Why do people need to know the sex of the baby? Why does it matter? The child will grow up to be straight, gay, bi, or any combination of sexualities. Why does the kid’s sex have anything to do with anything?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Seelix It doesn’t, realistically but it’s pretty ingrained to want to know what sex the baby is because, well, babies are the only ones whose gender identities we can’t read as easily as other people’s and it freaks people out. Don’t know why, it’s not like the usual excuses people give for needing to know about one’s gender (so they know whether or not they can be sexually intimate with that person being one or needing to know what they can share with that person being two – both of which I find ridiculous) are present as babies aren’t yet old enough for you to seduce (one hopes) or talk to. Both of my kids are assumed to be girls one day and boys the next based on the kinds of clothing they wear. And generally if the people are passing by, I don’t correct them but if I do, they get so apologetic as if I’m about to cry that they didn’t say ‘your sons’ and I always say ‘my god, stop, it’s not a big deal, I don’t care about gender’ and they don’t understand me. I mean a friend of mine just delivered a baby and the baby is a few weeks old but that ouch-like pink ribbon with a bow hasn’t left her head. I’m thinking, my god, with your vagina hurting and your breasts bulging and the sleepless nights, you still think hard enough to put that on her? Geez, god forbid your infant blob hears someone saying ‘is that a boy?’ – man, now there’s a child who will need a psychologist pronto. And thanks for the pronouns, :) Apparently, some people can use them.

incendiary_dan's avatar

From now on I suggest we refer to all infants as “Winston”, since they all basically look like Winston Churchill anyway.~

keobooks's avatar

I don’t think the kid will end up messed up over this, but I find this story kind of annoying. As a new mom hanging out in the mommy/baby circles, there are SO many grating moms out there who try to one-up each other on the “my child is so special” game. There’s the “my child is SO advanced” and “my child is so sensitive and delicate” “my child needs a VERY special diet“And “my child is so special that the gender shall remain secret” just smacks of more than a little bit of douchebaggery to me.

First of all, most folk wouldn’t be comfortable using the pronoun “it” to describe a baby, as “IT” is a pronoun used to demean someone and make them seem less than human (think “it puts the lotion in the basket” or “A Child Called It” ) and “he or she” would be extremely cumbersome to use. “He or she looks like he or she wants his or her non genderspecific toy he or she dropped over there.” So you’d have to constantly refer to the child by his or her first name, which ends up sounding really ridiculous after a while.

By hiding the gender of their child, I think they’ve made a much bigger stink about something than they really had to. To me this is more about the parents wanting attention than anything positive for their kids. I’m sure that they are the type that before this baby was born, they would go on for hours about cosleeping/babywearing/breastfeeding/cloth diapering/anti-vaccination/homeschooling/homemade baby food whatever forever. And there’s NOTHING wrong with those choices in my opinion except for the anti-vaccination thing. I do more than half of the things on that list, but I don’t go ON and ON about it or MAKE A HUGE STINK over it. And quite frankly, I get sick of the parents who do this.

Babies don’t really look like one gender or another unless you specifically dress them up. I frequently dress my daughter in “gender neutral” clothing. People used to frequently think that she was a boy. (Now she has so much hair on her head everyone assumes girl, even when I dress her up in full boy “drag”) I never bothered correcting anyone if they guessed her gender wrong. I’d have people apologize all over the place once they found out she was a girl and I was like “Meh, she doesn’t care.. I don’t either.” And that was that.

I don’t mean to go on and on, but I’ve been following this from day one and debating about whether or not to post this. But I’m just about as treehugging liberal hippy mom as they come —but parents like these get on my nerves. I’d probably ask about the baby’s gender all the time just to be an asshat to them. I am only somewhat ashamed to admit this.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@keobooks I don’t think these parents were the ones to make the big stink about any of this and I don’t think they find their children to be more special than yours.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@keobooks Totally love your answer. We share the same exact opinions on the whole thing, only YOU said it nicer than I did. =0)

keobooks's avatar

I was trying to answer this, but my daughter kept pulling out the cord on the laptop and my is dead. Now shes napping so I can get down to business.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I will give you the benefit of the doubt because I assume you haven’t been in too many “mommy circles”. I have. I know many parents who are just like this and make a big stink about everything they do as parents. I just didn’t get it until I went to my breastfeeding support group and had to hear this crap week after week. They act like giving a child formula is just like giving them battery acid. Baby sleeps in their own crib? If you really LOVED your baby, you’d co-sleep. Vaccinate your kids? I guess you don’t care if they become autistic—and who cares about the research on that subject not panning out? Basically, any thing THEY do is not just the best choice for their children, but the best choice anyone who has ever had a child would make. Ever.

Like I said, I participated in these mommy circles for months because I was and still am a big proponent of what they call “natural parenting”. Most of the stuff these parents mentioned doing in the article and stuff I assume they do because of some buzzwords they threw in and the way they phrased things. The way I am raising my daughter is probably not too different from the way they are. So it’s not like I’m saying that their parenting style is crap because of what they do.

It’s the attitude I can’t handle. And I can see it plain as day in their quotes. I could quote several in a future post if you like, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll just do this one sentence for now.

“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker

What a condescending, inappropriate and just over all bitchy thing to say about someone wanting to know the gender of a baby.

99% of the people who ask don’t really want to get to know your baby as a person. They are asking to be polite when they engage in the few sentences of small talk they may have with the parent while standing in line at the grocery store. They really just want to know what pronoun to use when they say “I bet s/he’s a handful” or “How old is s/he?” If you say something like this to someone who’s just asking to be polite, you’ve basically taken their banal attempt at small talk and jacked it up to an incident.

If you simply refused to give the gender, you’ve just made things awkward for the asker. They now don’t know how to have a casual conversation about your baby because they are going to get thrown off about which pronoun to use and not be rude. They will constantly be trying to think of ways not to use pronouns at all and things will get a bit convoluted. So likely, they just won’t bother talking to you.

Another way to jack it up a notch is to take an innocuous question and make it sound like something unclean and perverted. Does someone who asks “boy or girl” REALLY want to know about what’s under the diapers between your baby’s legs? Do they want to be thinking of a child’s genitals at all? NO! What a way to make someone feel dirty for asking a question. I mean why not just go out and say “What are you, some kind of pedophile?” when someone asks that question.

OK, and no, you don’t need to know what their junk looks like to know someone, but not even knowing someone’s gender at all—I mean how well can you know them if you don’t even know that? I’m sure if you were as enlightened and perfect as this couple of hippy parents, you’d be beyond these petty matters of mere mortals and you’d know peoptryle for their inner SOULS or whatever… yeah.. OK. Good for you. Meanwhile, I like my pronouns and I’m not calling anyone IT. So I am going to be a dirty little bastard and ask people about what goodies do they have in their pants. Maybe I’ll reach out and feel around down there to make sure they aren’t trying to trick me. Because gender is all about “what’s between your legs” and nothing else.

I’m SURE they think their child is more special than mine. S/he is their child! They don’t even know my child exists. And of COURSE I think my child is more special than their n child. That’s because she’s MY child. That’s part of being a parent. You are biologically programmed to think that your little boo-boo is the most special little baby in the universe.

But you don’t have to go on blathering to everyone else about it. You don’t have to set your child up for all of these situations that normal every day human interactions become an issue or a hassle to other people. There’s being an individual and then there’s being a jackass. And you have to know which side of the line to stand on to make the world a better place. Wanting to break down stereotypes is one thing, but thinkiing you can do that by being smug and condescending to some little old lady in the grocery store line trying to make small talk is another thing altogether.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@keobooks I haven’t been in any mommy groups. In terms of my friends, we’re the only ones with children though we have some parent friends on FB from our baby classes. So you are right about that. I do, generally, meet with parents of my kids’ friends after pre-school just because we all go to the same park but they’re not like what you describe even if they are of opinions I disagree with. I try to not make anything personal, make sure my kids can still play with their kids even if they find me with my tattoos weird and all that. Yes, obviously by refusing to answer people’s questions about their baby’s gender, they ARE making the asker uncomfortable and that is, in itself, a great point to show how dependent we are on these markers. Because why should it make the asker uncomfortable and why should they care more about anyone else’s feelings. You like pronouns, great – use gender neutral ones.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@keobooks You know that @Simone_De_Beauvoir writes a blog about gender neutral parenting, right? Ze’s got some kids (see, even a dude can use gender neutral pronouns! Did I do it right?). It’s kind of clear to me that you didn’t read the rest of the conversation, so I’ll withhold more commenting until you catch up. Oh, except to point out that gender and sex aren’t synonymous. That baseline needs to be established for any meaningful conversation, and you seemed to ignore or not know that.

keobooks's avatar

@incendiary_dan I will catch up completely after my baby creature goes to sleep. The thing is crawling around and pulling the plug out of my laptop and the battery is dead. So I will wait until it falls asleep for the night to really dig in and read. I’m sorry but I hate trendy words like this “Ze” and “Zim” since nobody but who is “in the know” knows of them and they aren’t standard English. I didn’t go for “womyn” or “womb-on” in the 90s and those gems never caught on so I don’t feel like I’m behind the times for not using the terms.

AND I KNOW gender and sex are not synonymous which is why the “what’s between the legs” quote really pissed me off. I was hoping my sarcasm was dripping thick enough. If I overheard someone ask about a baby’s gender and the mom went “down there” and started talking about the privacy of their child’s genitals, I’d go off. There’s no reason to take someone’s innocent question about your kid and take it in that direction.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@keobooks They’re not trendy words, they’re words that are meaningful to others even if they aren’t to you – this isn’t about kangaroo parenting or soapless shampoos and cloth diapers – these pronouns are an important aspect of us fitting into a place that doesn’t have much language for how we feel. You can’t discount that as a phase. The more people become in the know, the more people will use them. I don’t get why dumbass words like ‘sexting’ or ‘googling’ can catch on like wildfire but people think their brain capacity stops at using ze and hir.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Aren’t the pronouns also based on some ancient ones used in an archaic form of English? Personally, I tend to use ‘they’ more often, but I’ll try out ‘ze’ and ‘hir’. :)

@keobooks Sorry for misunderstanding. I don’t think your sarcasm came across, or else I’m particularly thick today. Anyhow, disliking some terms and bucking at ‘trends’ seems like a weak excuse.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@incendiary_dan I do like they as well, actually. But that one is even more confusing to ask people to use since they say ‘oh but you’re not plural’.

keobooks's avatar

@incendiary_dan In my post where you didn’t catch my sarcasm, I said that I ask people about their genitals and then I reach out and feel them up to make sure they aren’t lying to me.

I REALLY hope you don’t think I do that. I think I’d be in prison or a State institution by now if I did.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

As much as I take this discussion seriously, it really has made me think and I’ve seen some thought provoking responses, that last comment made me laugh. haha.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@keobooks Well, ya caught me not reading slowly and carefully. :P

@Simone_De_Beauvoir If the queen can use the royal ‘we’, we can be plural too. Plus, I usually just counter that I’m awesome enough to be plural.

InTheZone's avatar

My younger sister was born (in the 50’s) with no evident sexuality. She had a tiny hole that allowed her to pass urine, but nothing else. They gave her a colostomy. Because at that time there were nothing like MRI’s or genetic testing, they determined to hang her upside down and release some bubbles inside her body, tracking them to try to determine her sex.

This test was inconclusive, but the medical people felt that she might be a female. They suggested that our parents give her a name that was appropriate for either gender, then raise her as a girl, because they said it was easier to switch from girl to boy than from boy to girl. Then they sat back and watched to see how she would develop. There were many other problems, such as a missing kidney and an enlarged heart, and much medical intervention was needed for such problems, but she was treated as a female child. She seemed very female to us from day one. When she was a pre-adolescent it became obvious that the doctors were correct as she began to develop feminine secondary sexual characteristics, so at that time they created a vaginal opening to allow for the possibility that she would experience menses. She did do that.

When she became of marriage age, they used skin from elsewhere in her body to refine the vagina, and she married, and experienced normal marital relations. She never had children. Some years after her marriage, she was having some severe pain and the doctors determined that she needed a hysterectomy. When they went in, they found two complete sets of female organs, one of which was blocked and the menses were causing the pain. They took out that set of organs and left the set that was associated with her vagina. Also at this time, they found a teratoma wound around her spinal column, which they left intact. They said this was the remains of a twin. Later she required another hysterectomy, so she had two complete hysterectomies.

I know that the family found it a little bit disconcerting to wonder about her sexuality, we probably were rather before our time in encouraging her to participate in both types of activities, but she never seemed to have any gender identification issues. She suffered, and continues to suffer, from poor health, but has no long-lasting effects from the confusion in her gender as a young person. I don’t believe she was ever even aware that there was confusion. I’m grateful that the medical people were very conservative in her treatments and their suggestions, and gave us all time to grow into the challenges that her life presented.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Feminist Wire’s opinion on the topic.

Allie's avatar

This might be of interest to some participants in this thread. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Allie Man, I want to live in Sweden. I would love to do such a pre-school here.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Allie Thank you. My son would love to go to a place like that!

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther