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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Gender denied...

This article is my opinion on a story featured in the Daily Mirror. It is in no part a judgement on the actions of others. i firmly believe that each should be able to do their own. That said, i believe that if you sell your story to a newspaper then you leave yourself open to comment.  In no way do i urge you to agree with my opinions neither in this article nor any other.

Just to clarify like....

Gender specifics...
Is it right to deny your child knowledge of their gender?
Well that's exactly what a couple,  featured yesterday morning  in the press,  did for 5 years. They shielded their child from the knowledge of his gender, choosing instead to raise him as  gender neutral. It was only when the child had to be registered for primary school that it was revealed that he is a boy.  Had they not had to reveal his gender at that stage it is suggested that they would have continued as they were.
It raised some interesting questions for me.
Can anyone truly be gender neutral ?  Surely gender is deeper than what toys you play with and what clothes you wear? Surely it is about human nature. It runs through most living organisms and assists their role in the procreation of themselves and of other species.
What will happen when he goes to school? He currently wears a uniform made up of male and female articles. How long will he be happy to do that? In the paper there is an image of him dressed in a fairy outfit and sporting a short boy like outfit. Wont that image come back to haunt him in years to come?
Children are resilient creatures but they can also be cruel. They look for any slight differences which make others stand out and use them as a weapon. They tease and laugh and this can have a big effect on a child’s life and happiness.
The first few formative years are the ones that stay with a child. Is it wrong to deny them their true identity? Surely it contributes to their personality not takes away from it?
Personally I think that it is selfish to want your child to defy boundaries which you think are in place in society. These Are boundaries which your child as no knowledge. I can’t help but feel that you are taking away a protective shield and opening them up to questioning, hardness and even bullying. Shouldn’t children just be allowed to be children and enjoy a child hood without having to defy/battle/challenge parent imposed beliefs?
 I think that in some way you would be suggesting to them that you are concerned with who they really are. That you are ashamed. Parents may think that this won’t happen. They think that they will have instilled enough security in their child so that this will be avoided. It won’t be. Maybe for the here and now it won’t be an issue. He’s young, probably won’t understand fully. The problem is that young minds grow and crave answers. At that point I'm not so sure that he will like the inevitable responses.
The biggest problem they have is that they went to the press. They put the difference out there. For anyone to access. They haven’t shielded him at all from bullies or even the public and that's a very dangerous position in which to place your child.
My concern is who they are doing this for. If a child decides themselves to take a certain course of action then that's fine; its their decision. If you impose your ideas on them then surely you are doing it for yourself? Of course people think they do it for their child. They do it almost to be different.
Ultimately I believe each to their own and I fully support the right to a private family life. The thing is that they are quoted in the papers and are clearly happy to publicise their decision and with that I have a major problem. I only hope that their son is understanding of their reasons when he is able to find out information about what they did in due course.
If not then they could have sacrificed a lot for what appears to be a personal social experiment. He has no siblings with whom he can share the load and burden of their decision. Not even his parents are gender neutral.  Perhaps if they were so believing of their cause, they would practice what they preach?
The mother is quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying “I just want him to fulfil his potential and I wouldn’t push him in any direction”. Gender though isn’t a direction; its a fact of life. It doesn’t need to define you. It doesn’t limit your potential either. I'm sure that not being in the knowledge of your own gender could be pretty limiting though, even for a small child.

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