Some months ago, I found myself booted from a Christian parenting group. Apparently, disagreeing with the majority by voting no on a poll for scripture classes in public schools, makes you a person who does not belong to the group.
It’s an odd purgatory, because I find queer parenting groups are just the same. The rising tide of gender-neutral parenting is one that I find is becoming judgmental, vitriolic, and exclusive.
If you, God forbid, refer to your son as a boy, you get booted from the group, only after being called misogynistic, internally transphobic, and emotionally abusive. These individuals would prefer penis-haver or child bearing a penis.
My son is of the boy variety. He is AMAB – assigned male at birth. Yes, we assigned his gender because more often than not, males grow into boys, and then men. The number of gender diverse individuals in the last Australian census was as low as 1260.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t raise your child to be whoever they want to be, but there’s nothing wrong with having a ‘home base’ gender that they can use to relate to others and themselves, as well as the biology they were born into.
Put simply, I’m not parenting my child towards the very remote possibility that they may be gender diverse.
Instead, I aim to allow him the opportunity to pursue a number of interests – so far, he has done ballet, soccer, gymnastics, and swimming. I paint his nails. He chooses his own clothes, for the most part. He has a lot of different toys, including traditionally ‘girly’ and ‘boyish’ numbers. He grows his hair.
But I will not refer to my baby son as “they” or “them.” I am not giving him a neutral, colourless identity until he “chooses” his gender. There is no need, when you can just be open-minded and accepting with lots of conversations around gender, to your little boy in his shark polo shirt.
I have been called misogynistic.
Because someone who asked for advice on how to raise a penis-having child, and I said that one of the biggest learning curves for me as a boy Mum was the amount of rough play that boys absolutely adore – and how they learn the boundaries between themselves and others through this process.
I caused great offence. They were after advice about raising a penis-having child, not advice from a boy Mum.
Um, I guess you need to make sure you wash under the foreskin!?
I was later called ’emotionally abusive’ in one of these gender threads. I’ve been called emotionally abusive for suggesting my child can have a say in who hugs him or not. This isn’t new territory for me. Bring it on.
Because I said I was sending my child to an all boys’ school.
Yep, God forbid we choose the best education we can for our son, which matches his broad interests. How awful of us as parents that we would choose a school that offers music programs, arts, dancing, sports, sciences, and a farm, all under the one roof. Or a school that bases learning around explicit teaching, which is what I support as a teacher.
No, it would be less emotionally abusive for me to call my child ‘them’, a penis-haver and send him into a school that doesn’t match the teaching style we know works for children.
This is just nonsense. The fact that our gay community is now full of people who cannot embrace and celebrate people’s expression of their gender. I am not saying we need to press-gang our children into boy/girl with no flexibility of dress style or interests, but for God’s sake, we do not need to completely erase gender in order to appease the tastes of a very vocal minority. Some of these people are aggressive, bigoted, exclusive, and downright rude.
My son is a boy – until he tells me otherwise. No amount of harassment, blocking me from groups, or attacking my parenting is going to change that.