Monday, June 29, 2009

Keeping Gender a Secret

In Sweden, two parents (both 24) have decided to keep the gender of their child "Pop" (not the child's real name) a secret to everyone except a few who have helped change diapers. The reason they are doing this?

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.” (quote from The Local: Sweden's News in English)

As many have known for years, sex and gender are two very different things and while the sex of a person can't be changed without surgery, there have been many studies in psychology, sociology, psychiatry, etc. to show that gender is a fluid aspect in a person (especially when young). I think it's a wonderful thing these parents are doing to allow their child to choose what Pop wants to be as Pop ages, although Pop may encounter a fair number of snags along the way as Pop enters school and especially when puberty hits. But, as long as the parents continue supporting Pop emotionally and as long as Pop can handle a bit of teasing (which will soon wear off as kids go), then this could revolutionize theories in child gender development.

This will be one of those cases I will attempt to keep a close eye on for many years to come. It is difficult growing up in America as a non-traditional gendered child. I feel that as we have been in the 21st century for some time now, our thoughts and biases should start vanishing. I know this is but a dream and I have had my own battles with stereotypes (thanks to the wife and a friend, C, I have become more aware of what I say). Maybe as the world becomes even more connected some biases and discrimination will fade into the past. Here's hoping!