A Storm I Welcome

I applaud the efforts of the parents of baby Storm, who have chosen to try and raise a nongendered child.  I love that their older boys wear what they like (including pigtails and sparkly dresses), and that they want to take this one notch more, and relieve their new child the judgement of the narrow-minded should Storm follow suit.

Yes, this will take getting used to by their neighbours and community, but every generation deals with something new in their community – new accents, new skin colors, new kinds of families.  Learning to adjust is possible, and Storm’s neighbours will, if they can get around their own issues with gendering.

My girls have tool benches, and my son wears dresses sometimes.  Yes, he just got a very boy-like haircut, but only because he *wanted* it, and not for gendered reasons, but because he was tired of it getting in his eyes, and stuck under my arm when he nursed at night.  Heck, many of the boys he knows have VERY long hair, including his father, and I don’t have a hair on my head over three inches long.

A good friend of mine once told me that genitals are just plumbing, and I loved that.  A study (which I’m not digging up right now, sorry) showed that two kinds of heterosexual couples work best: those where each partner has very strict gender roles, and those where both partners have very flexible, and even androgynous gender roles.  My marriage is definitely the latter, and since I many of the ‘traditional’ gender roles seem to often come with paradigms that I find abhorrent, I’d be delighted to have my children steer closer to the androgynous line.

Homosexuality and being transgender, should a child determine, eventually, that they are either, are NOT the same thing.   Our culture has, over just the last generation or two, come to accept that women can wear pants, work outside the home, and even be in positions of authority.  We are beginning to accept that the definition of ‘active father’ can (and should) mean more than bringing home a paycheck and throwing around a baseball on weekends.  We are starting, as a culture, to understand that family can be defined in many ways.   Biology is NOT destiny, folks, and, should homosexuality be a negative in your mind, understand that many transgendered people still choose partners the opposite of their biological sex.  (So yes, they might LOOK gay, but aren’t, unless they choose to define themselves as such.)

Bend these lines, folks – our children will be who and what they want and need to be, and giving them the freedom to explore and develop themselves in a welcoming environment is FAR less odious than their repressing it lifelong, only to find it on a therapist’s lounge at age forty, after families and careers have been shattered by their inability to understand who they are.

So send Storm blue AND pink.  And green, and orange and purple, too.  Send all the colors of the rainbow, and toys and games of equal diversity.  Introduce this lovely child to whatever YOU love, and maybe Storm will sense your excitement and love it too.  Bounce back and forth between pronouns and don’t get hung up on Storm’s hair.

Life is way too short, and the beautiful possibilities are endless.

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6 Responses to A Storm I Welcome

  1. Bon Crowder says:

    Had to look this one up, since I’m news-neutral.

    Interesting, Siggi. My only thought – wow, it’s gonna make it difficult to find a sitter, especially if you don’t let the grandparents in.

    Daughter has one doll. And two dozen hot wheels. Not because I want her boyish, but because I’m not fond of dolls. Plus, I still dress her in frills. Because I like frills.

    When she can choose, she may choose. And she’ll no doubt grow up knowing that boys do dishes (like Husband) and girls leave underpants on the floor (like me).

    Thanks for sharing, Siggi!

  2. Siggi says:

    I think a lot of that difficulty depends on your family and circumstances. I don’t think my in-laws have ever changed any of my kids, and it certainly wouldn’t have been hard to keep my parents out of the loop, even though we see them many times a year. With multiple children in the family, they may be able to have older sibs help with changes should they have a sitter until Storm is pottying solo, but my girls are five and we’ve only ever had two sitters anyway, so this might not be such a big deal anyway.

    Thanks for the comment, Bon! I’ve been swamped, but this was too awesome to not post about!

  3. Douglas Hainline says:

    Hmmm…. I think there is a lot of difference between not forcing your child to conform to various arbitrary social expectations, and forcing (including in the subtle and non-obvious ways by which we can shape behavior) him or her to behave in some (again, arbitrary) way of which we approve. It’s not clear to me which category Storm will fall into.

    If he starts expressing an interest in big machines, and wanting to play with toy guns, and in other ways act like a typical young male, will his parents disapprove and try to make him play with dolls? I hope not!

    • Siggi says:

      I’m going to leave aside the question of whether playing with toy guns is appropriate for ANY child for now, and focus on the rest of your comment, which I appreciate.

      I wholeheartedly agree that there is a big difference between imposing a gender on one’s child and refusing them to allow their natural behavioural expression. I’d wonder where the child learned about guns and trucks, ie was it from a culturally gendering source, or from their own desires upon seeing trucks and guns (which could basically never be in true isolation, nor do I think it would be good if it were), but still.

      I battle with this with my own kids – I welcome whatever interests they have (barring toy guns, but swords and archery are fine – I just have issues with guns); some of the extremes of gender expression in modern culture make me cringe, so yes, I steer my kids away from them to some extent. (My tolerance for American football and Disney princess paradigms is incredibly narrow, for example.) Trucks, swords and armor, dress-up and dolls are all here in abundance, though, and whomsoever wants to play with them is welcome to do so.

  4. Douglas Hainline says:

    I believe that there is a fair amount of evidence that male/female preferences in many things are biologically rooted, and not the result of cultural indoctrination at all. That said, there certainly has been cultural chanelling of the two sexes. My two grandchildren, one male and one female, are definitely growing up to be typically male and female in a number of ways, but the little girl has been exposed by me to engineering-oriented toys from an early age, and has a real flair for taking things apart and putting them together, which we encourage. I think all we can do is to expose our offspring to as many experiences as possible, and help them find and excel in their natural inclinations, whether these are ultimately biologically determined, or come from their social environment.

    • Siggi says:

      Add in that things can be biologically influenced without being *gender* influenced, and I completely agree with you.

      Nice to see a visitor from across the pond; I get over every few years to visit family, but certainly welcome a UK-resident viewpoint. Welcome!

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