I read about a couple this week who are raising their baby as gender-neutral, to the extent that even relatives and friends do not know what form of genitalia the baby has.
I’m pretty much an each-to-their-own kind of person, I’ve been involved in various complex gender-based cases due to the nature of a previous day job, and so I have seen first-hand the deep impact that gender identity can have on a child and their family.
Contrary to much public opinion, this is all too real and can cause heartbreak and many years of true anguish.
However, raising a child as gender-neutral to such an extreme extent that even grandparents do not know whether the child is physically male or female, is a different matter.
Where do we begin and where do we stop? Will harmless birthing anecdotes –‘It’s a girl/boy!’ – become non-PC?
Will we begin to dress children in only black or white in case any other colour is seen as imposing gender on that baby?
If anything, by raising your child gender-neutral to this extreme, you are teeing them up for confusion.
The couple wish for their baby to be referred to using the pronoun ‘they’. If you don’t want the label of ‘he’ or ‘she’, then at least choose something that doesn’t denote a plural, merely adding to the confusing. In fact, this all seems more rigid despite the fact that the parents are aiming for a level of freedom.
And what if their child soon begins to display what we think of as gender-based characteristics?
Are their parents going to welcome this, or stifle it? Are they going to then allow their child to choose what gender they identify with, or are they hoping the child will grow-up to be gender-neutral?
I don’t feel heavily critical of their decisions, more confused, because rather than being label-free, this seems instead to be deeply contrived.
There is no easy option – you can add issues by trying to avoid them, and you can encounter issues later if your male or female baby grows up in a state of gender confusion and heartache.
But at least with the latter you can support your child, and be supportive of, their personal identity choice.
Solicitors, surveyors, estate agents – ever heard of email?
Incredibly, the Never-Ending House Move rumbles on.
Lack of communication appears to be a key factor in this dragging onwards into eternity. Much as I enjoy a handwritten letter, I am not daft – the speed of email is a life-changer in the world of business.
And yet, I half suspect certain parties in the house-moving business are hand-chiselling requests on slabs of slate before piling them up into a horse and cart and sending them on their way.
Why on earth there isn’t a system whereby each case has one key worker who oversees the entirety of the chain, is a complete mystery. Perhaps it just makes too much sense.
I mean, who wants to make life easy?
What a thrill it was to receive a handwritten pen pal letter
I wrote a while ago about the lost art of letter writing, and it was a real pleasure to then receive a letter from reader, Joyce Stimpson, of Park Gate.
Joyce took the time to put pen to paper – proper writing paper too, the pretty variety of times past – and drop me a line.
She mentioned pen friends, something that children nowadays may have no knowledge of.
Sometimes schoolchildren would have a pen friend in France or Spain, with the accompanying thrill of a foreign stamp and an envelope with an air mail sticker popped on the front.
Most likely not exciting to youngsters nowadays, and what a shame that is.