Before anyone jumps on me, I support transgender rights & equality, I also have a degree in both gender studies as well as sociology so I often think in terms of societal impact as well as gender issues. I do believe children can know if they’re LGBTQ at young ages however I am concerned about the trend I see of parents who in their zest to be supportive, to be allies, or to just show how “alternative” they are, they may also be pushing children into boxes in which they do not belong.. Children develop in stages & they are pretty fluid at young ages. Off course children should be supported as they explore their identities in all ways. In this instance though I am bit concerned…This mother says her child “acted feminine, flamboyant and dramatic at 2.”
Children are gender neutral until they’re around 3 or 4 – at two a child doesn’t identify one way or another with self and gender. If you put a two year old boy in a dress, he’s not going to freak out because he doesn’t know that its not a boy’s article of clothing, yet. He trusts his mother. Mom and Dad are their first role models. Maybe to her he wasn’t acting like she expected a boy to act, and tried to reshape him. Children should be allowed to be themselves, not forced into a gender box simply because the mother thinks they act too “feminine.” I’ve known little boys who wanted their Mom’s to put makeup on them when she was putting it on – I’ve known little boys who walked around in their mother’s high heels for fun – but to them, it wasn’t identified with gender – it was just something adults did and they wanted to try it. Those little boys are masculine, heterosexual men today. It wasn’t a precursor to a future identity change. I was a tomboy when I was a kid. That didn’t mean I wanted to be a boy. I would have hated my parents later in life if they forced me to be someone I wasn’t. As if I wasn’t good enough as me. We’re all made who we are, give children the freedom to make those critical, life-changing decisions. Additionally sexuality is pretty fluid throughout child development and not everyone knows who they are or accepts themselves as they are until adult years. The choice of ones identity & sexuality should be one that the individual makes, not the parents.
Here is the article this blog is a response to