Gender, shmender

My ten year old daughter has painted toenails. Dark velvet blue for one foot and a stark bright yellow on the other. She got the inspiration from me when I had contrasting colors on my toenails as well. Toenails that were lovingly painted by my youngest son. This same daughter who pours all her energies and concentration in doing nail art on herself won’t comb her hair. She has declared war in all hair brushing accoutrements including any and all hair ties, clips or accessories with the only exception of headbands. Headbands she will tolerate.  However, she refuses to have her hair cut any shorter than shoulder length and has a silent disapproval of my pixie cut.

My sons on the other hand will ride bikes, chase after frogs and other insects but will also enthusiastically request to use my sewing machine or raid through my craft box to make bright and pretty bracelets for me, their teachers and their female classmates. They will get lost in taking their old remote control cars apart as if they were diffusing a bomb and they give the same kind of passion when they’re baking cupcakes with me. They also occasionally request if they could put make up on me after watching me put it on.

What do I do when they’re like this? I let them. I allow them to follow their passion and do what they want. I post it on social media because I think it’s adorable and also it’s fodder for the video that I will show during their wedding. Of course putting this out there on the internet means that it’s practically a welcome mat for anyone to share their great disappointment at me for raising my kids this way. I’ve been told that I will make them confused or that I’m encouraging them to be *gasp* something they’re not supposed to be? Well, what are they supposed to be? They’re already human and I’m trying to raise them to be exceptional human beings who don’t give a monkey’s behind on what people think of them so long as they don’t do anything that would hurt other people or living creatures in the process. I have half the mind however to ensure that they come up with something that will eradicate narrow minded bigots, sexists and judgmental cretins like you.

One of the worst comments I had actually came from a gay man who expressed that he hopes that my son is just expressing his “creativity” and prays that he isn’t going to turn out gay. Yes. This was coming from a gay man. I understand that you may have had some serious issues and negative experiences growing up gay and that may attribute to your really hypocritical comment but for you to assume that it will be horrible for my son to grow up gay is just plain offensive, assuming and stupid. I don’t care if my son turns out to be gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual or a unicorn. He is and will always be my son and nothing short of murder or genocide will make me love him any less. He is what he is and he will be who he will be. My job as a parent is not to make sure he turns out to be what people want him to be. My job is to make sure that he discovers who he is and guide him to be that best person. My job is to love him – warts, sequins and all.

In my household, we do not have gender lines. Everything is blurred because it doesn’t matter. You can be the best driver and mechanic in the world and do it in 5 inch killer heels. You can be skilled with a needle and thread and still kill negotiations in the boardroom. Gender, for us, is just a way of telling the world how you pee. What’s more important is how you live.

If you need more validation, just look at my name.

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