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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Raising Chlidren and Gender

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Author Topic: Raising Chlidren and Gender
moonlight bouncing off water
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Ever since I came to terms with being attracted to any and all genders of people I have known that I would never assume any future children I may have to be heterosexual, or any other orientation. It was incredibly difficult for me when I realised that I wasn't straight, contrary to what I had been socialised tobelieve, and I don't want any children I may have to need to go through the realisation that they too can be queer, that it isn't just something that pertains to other people.

And yet when it comes to gender I'm not quite sure how I would approach raising a child. I am not certain of my own gender, but I am finding this journey easier than I found figuring out my orientation. Well, perhaps easier is the wrong way of putting it. I suppose it is more accurate to state that I am finding it to be less earth-shattering. But I am still uncertain of my gender.

I would not want a child to experience anguish and pain because I raised zir in a gendered environment, but I do not really know what my other options would be. I do not have a child and I am not pregnant, so this is not of any immediate concern to me, but it is something that I want to at least find a direction to go in with my thoughts on.

At stores there is a Women's section and a Men's, nothing else. These are my clothing options and these would be the options I had for what to put on my child. When ze grew old enough I would alow the child to pick zir own clothes, but as a baby I would have to make that decision for the child, and the child would be doubtless influenced by the clothes that I put on them.

There is, of course, the option to select both boy's clothes and girl's clothes for the child, but I must wonder if this is the right thing to do. Would that be pushing a genderqueer identity on the child or would that be giving the child freedom? It bothers me when I find myself thinking that I wouldn't want to confuse the child unnecessarily when I had a very bothersome conversation with my ex in which he used logic along the same lines to state why he would raise a child and make the assumption that they were heterosexual. I want to give my child as many options as possible, but I do not want to have my child come home crying because someone told them that boys don't wear dresses. At the same time however I resent being raised female and not even being informed that I have other options or that sex and gender are different.

Then of course there is the issue of pronouns and the sex which the baby is assigned at birth. I suspect that if my child were MAAB I would use male pronouns and that if ze were FAAB I would call her my daughter, but I'm not certain that I would feel good about calling ze those things until the child could make a decision about which ones the preferred.

Any thoughts?


I am ME and that is the only label I need.

Posts: 864 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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That is a difficult topic, but I don't think it would be too hard to dress a baby in gender neutral clothing. Maybe just stick with yellows, blues, red's, denim, ect until the child is old enough to choose their own clothes?
Posts: 444 | From: United States | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Do you think you (and therefore also a hypothetical child) would experience anguish and pain if you had been raised with the pronouns (and therefore I suppose to some extent the gender assignation) that matched the sex you were assigned at birth, if you were a) given gender neutral and/or a variety of different-gendered clothes, to wear, toys to play with, etc., and b) given an education that included the possibility of adopting a different-gendered or genderfluid identity?

Possibly as important, in the imperfect world we live in, would you rather be brought up as I described above (i.e. with the sort of assumption that you're the gender matching the sex you were assigned at birth but with the understanding from your parents and family that they were open to you choosing another identity if you so desired), or being brought up without a gender altogether in a society that's very uncomfortable with that concept? (Consider, for example, the media circus surrounding Canadian baby Storm, who is being raised without a gender.)

Posts: 100 | From: Virginia, USA | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Clothes by themselves are genderless. So are names. The belief that dresses and the color pink are for girls is determined by our culture and society. In 500 years, who knows, maybe dresses will be in the wardrobe of almost every guy out there. I think it is much more important that a parent be educated about gender, as you clearly are, and be supportive of however their child identifies. It is quite difficult to raise a child truly without a pre-conceived gender. For example, on medical and school records, you usually have to put down Male or Female. As your child grows older, they will have to use either the boys or girls bathroom at school.

As a practical suggestion, you could name your child something gender-neutral, like Casey or Jay, and buy them clothes that are commonly worn by both boys and girls (plain t-shirts, jeans, etc).

Posts: 143 | From: USA | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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At one stage in the past it WAS the guys that wore pink and the girls that wore blue. We can tend to forget in society today that what it is today is NOT the way it has always been. It is just the current cultural, societal "norms".
Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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