NOTE - This post is very personal and draws from my own experiences and the outcomes of those experiences. It also explains a lot about what kind of person I am and why I am who I am.
Ok, me being me lately, I have not been all that motivated to jump online and comment on recent events like I used to. I was once a blogging fanatic, but that has changed with me getting married and the destractions that come along with it, to include my current pregnancy. And Facebook, which I promised my husband I would take a week long sabatical from, just to prove I don't need it. As I type this, I'm wondering if that's the quickening I've felt. I'm not even seventeen weeks along, but it certainly doesn't feel like the digestive track. Is the baby doing jumping jacks in there? Or is that just my small intestine? HOW DO I KNOW IF IT'S THE BABY??? I've felt things before and wondered, but I'm told it's to soon for my first pregnancy (to this point at least)
So anyway, about a week and a half ago, there was this big controversy with this >Canandian couple that decided to raise their child as Genderless, the story of which has died down. Me, being the conservative person that I am, you might think I might jump on this story as most others of conservative persuasion might and think of how wrong this couple is to raise this child with no set standards of gender identity, in affect, letting the child choose how it would like to identify themself when they come of age. And in a sense, I am inclined to think that the child does need to know that they are a boy or a girl from an early age.
However, believe it or not, I kind of get where these parents are coming from.
You see, growing up, I preferred to see myself as Genderless without realizing at the time what that meant. I didn't want to necessarily be a boy, but I didn't see myself as a girl. I hated playing dress up, I couldn't stand ribbons and lace, I didn't like wearing my hair down and if I could, I would have fought tooth and nail as my mother forced me to dress for church on sunday, but as soon as we were home, I was in my jeans playing out in the dirt. The only thing remotely girly I played with was My Little Pony, and not because it was girly, but because they were animals. I could play with animals all day long, in fact whenever my siblings played house, I was the cat. When my best friends (twins) and I played together anything along the girly lines of mom, dad and baby, we did it with animals and I was always the baby, who was always an it. No, not a boy or a girl, an it. Why did the baby need a gender? I didn't know, I certainly didn't care.
As I grew older, I did go through a bit of an identity crisis in regards to figuring myself out, as going through puberty, unlike some girls, I was horrified when it became more obvious that I was no longer a kid and was growing into a woman. I had my period before my older sister, what was up with that? I swear that fate was out to get me. I can often see where people who have gender confusion come from, I have never necessarily seen myself as being male though, asexual would be a more proper term for me. I have wondered about my sexuality at times, wondering if I was more inclined to like girls then boys, but, well, as you can see, that was a phase I went through, mostly in my late teens early twenties. At the time, I wondered if I was perhaps Bisxexual, but no, Asexual was more of a fitting term for me. I can't imagine having sex with a girl, sorry. I did go through this awkward phase because of my asexuality and denial of my gender that lasted from, oh, eleven until twenty six or so. This whole issue of trying to figure out who I am is part of the reason why I joined a traditionally non-female job field of the military. I still am very much down to earth and with me, what you see is what you get. At least I try to be that way. I have never really tried to fit into gender norms, I have always been, well, me. Sometimes I identify better with guys then other girls, but not always. Guys are sexual beasts, and me? Not so much.
However, as you can see now, I am definitely a girl, I am happily married, to a guy who is a great guy bytheway, and I'm currently pregnant, something I wondered if it would ever happen to me. I really did have to meet the right person, and I'm grateful I met a guy who loves me for who I am and has been so patient with me with the whole insanity of married life. I am excited at the prospect of being a mother, and I want my kids to be who they are, I don't want to force them to be something they are not, and certainly if I have a daughter who hates anything girly like I did, I'm not going to force it on her (well, except for Sundays at church). However, if she's miss Princess Frilly Fru-Fru with Ribbons and Lace, well, I'm just going to be wondering where she gets it from, because she certainly didn't get it from me (or Gus for that matter). However, that's Ok too (and my family jokes that I'm going to have a total girl if I have a daughter, just to spite me). I want my kids to be who they are, but they will also have a knowledge of WHAT they are. Just because I saw myself as genderless doesn't change the fact that I'm a girl.
So, back to this family that is choosing to raise their child as genderless, and their two older boys with their asexual names of Jazz, Kio and Storm. Jazz of course, being five, chooses what he wants to wear and how he likes his hair. In fact, he wears his hair much the same as I did when I was that age. He looks like a cute kid, but at first glance, he also looks like a girl. At his age of five, I don't know what his schooling is like, he doesn't seem to care much, but something I have discovered with my experiences of wishing to be genderless and forced to be a girl is that I am grateful now that I knew from a young age that I was indeed a girl. If my parents had raised me, a truly genderless child to be genderless without a knowledge of my identity but knowing what boys and girls are, I would have been horrified to discover that I was indeed a girl. At that age, I would have been more inclined to act like a boy then a girl. I thought girl stuff was stupid. I played with Ninja Turtles and mutliated barbie dolls. My stuffed animals played war and I was better bonded to my brother and male cousins then my sisters and female cousins, and the ones I did hang out with were always younger then me. I didn't chase boys, I barely noticed them.
If Storm is anything like I was, that poor kid when it becomes obvious what they are. The parents aren't doing that kid a favor by letting them choose their gender because it doesn't matter what they decide they are, when they discover what they really are, they are going to be disappointed if they are opposite of how they decide to see themselves. If that little baby starts identifying as a girl and discovers later that he's a boy, or vice versa, they are going to face a lot of stigma in life and probably become confused with their sexuality which will lead to problems with depression later. Believe me, my depression in my early twenties stemmed greatly from my gender confusion. There is nothing wrong with telling that kid what he or she is, and so they understand the biology of what they are, because nothing is going to change about that. Sure, you can hack off your penis and get a sex change and call yourself a girl, but I honestly think transgendered people are often times just very confused about their identity. It's not going to solve a lot of issues down the road. This poor kid, I hope for their sake that they go by nature versus nurture and take their natural gender role because nothing is worse for a genderless child then to go through puberty. Why? Because I went through puberty. Being genderless is fun until your gender decides to give you a kick upside the head that no, you are not an it. And hacking off my breasts and removing my uterus would not have solved the problem. I think that would have compounded the problem for me, it would have probably driven me further into depression.
Honestly, I think the best thing these parents can do for their kids is to let them know what they are, including Baby Storm, but continuing to allow their children to be who they are. Trust me, you think you are helping your kids out by giving them the freedom to decide but you're not. If human beings were born genderless and got to choose their own gender at puberty it would be a whole lot easier. But Biology is a part of who we are. It is not the same as Sexuality, which I think is what these parents are trying to do for their kids, but a child still needs to know their biology. It's not a matter of casting society's views on what gender roles should be, it's for the child's own sanity that they understand what gender roles are. If they identify with one gender and discover they are the other, they will be in a heap of trouble. It will be interesting to see if this experiment continues or if Storm just finds out on their own long before then. Maybe we can do a case study and Jazz, Kio and Storm in twenty years to see how they turn out.
So in Summary, what am I trying to say here? Being Genderless is fun and all, as a kid. There is no such thing as a genderless teenager. I know. I tried to be one. It didn't work, and this is from somebody who's Nature is Genderless with a parent that was Nurturing me as a girl. It just led to confusion and depression. Save the kid a lot of trouble, just tell them what they are and then let them be themselves. If they are truly genderless, you will probably know in time. If you think as a parent that you should condone their genderlessness, that is up to you. But chances are, Baby Storm is going to act on their own Nature and if they are a boy, chances are he's going to just be a boy. If she's a girl, she'll act like a girl. If Storm falls into their gender role, it's not going to make much of a difference to tell them what they are at that time. For the kid's sake, I hope that's what happens for them.
Rambly much? Probably. Remember, I'm pregnant, a lot of what I write doesn't make much sense.