This morning on Facebook, a fellow mom posted an article and added, "Someone discuss this with me." I love a challenge, so I couldn't pass it up. The article is called "Parents keep child's gender secret." Upon reading the title, I remembered the story of Pop a child being raised by a Swedish couple that did the same. When I read Pop's story, I admit that I didn't give much thought to the parents' decision to raise a "genderless child." Then I read the story of Storm.
The parents sent out an email after the birth of baby Storm that said the following: "We'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? ...)." It's beautiful in theory. I love the idea of people being free to express themselves without the limitations that society (and sometimes parents) tries to dictate. With a girl comes pinks and dresses and dolls. With a boy comes blues and trucks and dirt everywhere.
I've always disliked these "rules." My four-year-old daughter likes her dresses and dolls; but she also loves John Deere tractors, race cars, construction equipment, planes, trains, and automobiles. But I realize that it's easier for her to cross gender lines in play, in clothing, in jobs, in likes, and just in general than it is for a male, but it's still difficult. In some parts, a boy playing with dolls and a girl playing with Army men equals people saying they're gay or other ridiculous labels. So I understand the desire for no limitations on your child - including the words of ignorance.
But even in my understanding, one part of the article really bothered me. I have now gone over it several times trying to look at it from other angles and just can't see it any other way. The mother said that by not telling the gender of her child, "I'm saying to the world, 'Please can you let Storm discover for him/herself what s(he) wants to be?!.'" What the child wants to be? When I was a child, what I wanted was to be a doctor, astronaut, model, chef, and every other job under the sun. And even if I had become all of those things, they don't change at my core who I am.
When it all comes down to it, the fight against gender issues doesn't have much weight without the gender part -- it's just an issue. I want to see more people not going about the fight in secrecy. I want to see people embracing who they are. It's your truth. Own it -- all of it. What you are is a set of labels and stereotypes. Who are is what you do with those.
Who are you?