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Should parents allow children to choose their gender identity?

by Gia (follow)
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A story was in the media recently of parents who choose to raise their child in a gender neutral way. They did not tell anyone the gender of the child and allowed the child to choose the clothes, toys, forms of address that they deemed fit. Do you think parents should raise their children gender neutral and allow them to choose the gender they would like to be?

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A child is what they are at birth as far as I can see.
This is one topic that makes me feel very unhappy, and is to me...very weird.
Way toooo weird!

It doesn't sit well with me at all.
I could not agree more.
by Gia
I don't go in for gender sterotypes like "girls like dolls and boys like trucks and never vice versa" or colour coding children's clothing (pink or blue) so I suppose we try to be "gender neutral" to that extent. I let my son wear a skirt if he feels like it and his sister can wear "boy" clothes if she wants, and they both play with a variety of toys. I wouldn't go so far as to not tell people whether my child is a girl or a boy. I would think that must be confusing for the child when they mix with other children.
I'm not sure I explained that very well. I wouldn't stop my daughter from doing things that are stereotypically or traditionally associated with boys, but she can do those things without being/calling herself a boy. I really like Melissa Atkins Wardy's book Redefining Girly. And there's a blog post she did with pictures of her daughter doing things like exploring the natural history museum, playing sport etc. which are captioned "this is being girly". I also think we should ditch the term "tomboy". There are lots of different ways to be a girl and lots of different ways to be a boy.
I think Children need a clear idea 'who' and 'what' they are.
Children also need to be able to identify with one or the other.
Their minds are not able to comprehend such freedom, they feel safe, if they
know....Guiding a child is a very complex task at the best of times....this just now makes it more complex, in a hundred different ways.
Hey! what would I know......only been doing it nearly four decades.
by jonaja
I'm not sure what your argument is here. I'm sure my kids are very well aware of their sex. My daughter knows she is a girl and my son knows he is a boy. That doesn't mean I need to restrict how they dress and what they play with.
I guess when you said your gender neutral.
by jonaja
p.s. is that only for colours...or would you also allow it to continue if your son wanted to continue to wear a skirt more often...(just asking).
by jonaja
I didn't say I was gender neutral. I'm quite definitely a woman.

I haven't bought skirts for him, he just sometimes asks to wear his sisters. It's cooler in hot weather and he likes the way they swish when he moves. He also digs sparkly things. He's two, and I don't think it matters in the slightest what a two year old wears as long as it's comfortable and fits. If he wants skirts of his own later I suppose that's cool too but there's no point speculating based on what they want to do as toddlers. They try a lot of things and grow out of a lot of things.
I think there is no way of determining just how much what it means to be a boy/girl/man/woman is biological/neurological/cultural. I don't like the idea of reinforcing stereotypical gender stereotypes, but to eliminate these all together and allow a child to choose would be incredibly confusing for said child. In the end, I imagine he or she would likely end up with issues.
by Vee
Well said, Vee. Having an adult (married) daughter myself, who often wore dungarees and was not keen on dresses as a tiny tot, I am leery of that question. I think I am just glad I did not have to deal with it. Sorry for the cop out.
by Rice
All good, Rice Paper. I understand.
by Vee
a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl so whats to choose

a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl so whats to choose

I think the point is that there is a difference between sex and gender. One's biological, the other is socially constructed.
a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl so whats to choose

There ought to be no choice in the matter, a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl.
by Gia

And they wonder 'why' children grow up with

by jonaja
To suggest that we have any influence on gender association is very problematic. Yes, I firmly believe children need to be supported to choose which gender they identify with. But I also believe that we need to deconstruct gender rules, and that if we did that, there would be less confusion, and a lot less problems right through society.
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