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Posts Tagged ‘expanding gender notions’

I’m in an ongoing conversation with a teacher/friend about gender and identity. She shared how her 5 year old son is very into the notion that “colors are for everyone” lately. No “boy colors” or “girl colors.” Any color for any person.

In talking about Q and how confining sex and assumptions around gender can be, she suggested the notion (which was really suggested by this wise 5 year old, but not in so many words) that gender is for everyone. As in, any gender for any person. Or every gender for every person. Or whatever gender anyone wants. No restrictions based on stereotypes. It came from the suggestion, by said wise 5 year old, that on a particular day when he was hanging out with Q and folks kept thinking Q was a girl, that maybe, in fact, he WAS a girl that day. None of us really know, he suggested. So wise. And so doable inside of the notion that gender is for everyone. So, I’m going with this conceptualization. I like it and am using it.

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nail polish is on. Ponytail is in.

Intriguing, eh? Thoughts, anyone?

he's so proud to have reached pony tail length!

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With a bit of publicity of late, this blog has had a sharp rise in visitors. I like that! It’s also brought with it some folks who rightfully question why I write this blog. In particular, there are questions about whether I’m somehow pigeon-holing Q and/or whether my appreciating things like his love for purple and pink are somehow pushing him further in that direction.

So, why do I write this blog? Yes, there’s a little tab at the top of that page that you can peruse, but here are some further thoughts. I am not happy with society. There are many reasons why. I don’t like that today is Sunday and, across the country, in millions of households, men will sit down to watch football and women will serve them food. Without thanks. Often without thought that this is a warped expectation and what these entrenched gender roles mean. Please, please, please, know, though, that I don’t by any means think that any and every time this happens it’s a negative. I just used that as a generalization to draw light to my point.

On a more personal note, I don’t like that my marriage to my wife is not recognized in the majority of states in this country. Again, I think that too many people don’t truly think about the ramifications of their actions when they vote against me, never once considering that no one ever had to actually vote FOR their marriages.

And I don’t like it that my son gets teased for wearing pink. Or purple. Or bandanas. Yes, I know that there are plenty of other boys who like those colors. Or sport long hair. Or wear bandanas. Or like glitter. And probably some of them get teased too. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you know the feel of the sword to your heart when something hurts your child — be it physically or emotionally. So that’s the simplest reason why I write this blog. There are things that happen to my kiddo because of his choices, and things that COULD happen because of his choices, that I think no child should have to endure. Yes, I know all kids get teased, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. And getting teased merely for what you like — for liking a color or a particular shirt — it’s outrageous. So I write this blog with the intent of opening minds. Just a bit. So that instead of commenting on the pink shirt, people perhaps think twice. Or think twice when they tell their son that a particular shirt is “just for girls.” It’s really not just about my son, but about many boys, girls, men, and women out there.

I write this blog to open minds a bit, to change minds a bit, to “trouble” the norms that we have ALL become so comfortable with. And having my particular son has opened my eyes in a particular way to this particular area of norms and social expectations. So I use him as a bit of an example, I use his experiences as a jumping off point. Does it mean that I know what the future holds for him? Absolutely not! But do I want that future to be wide open? For him to be able to choose what it’ll be like? Absolutely! Really, this blog doesn’t exist just to report on him. It exists to make us all fidget a bit in our seats, to reconsider our expectations around gender….to make a bit of change.

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June 1, Blogging for LGBT Families Day in the blogosphere. Swept up in the recent Prop 8 stir, I’ve not been feeling so hopeful and didn’t know what to write. So I figured, why not a good ole reflection on why it is that I write in the first place.

Truly, I write/blog for my son. This amazing boy. He’s soulful, playful, imaginative — really, his own person.

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He’s also a purple-lover, a dress-wearer, and, in his own words, most proud to be “someone who breaks stereotypes.”

So I write for him for many reasons. But they are equally tied up in the fact that he’s growing up in a queer family. Not that that makes him who he is, but it shapes his day-to-day experiences.

There’s a deeper level to my commitment, though, to blogging for Q and blogging as a member of the LGBT community and a queer family. And it has to do with work that’s both for the community of humanity at large, but also the queer community. Because as embracing and wonderful and inclusive as this community is, there’s still room for growth. There’s room to elbow our boundaries and expand them a bit. My boy is at work on that, enrobed so often in pink, purple, and sparkles. He confounds even many queer folks that he encounters, and in so doing helps to make evident the ways that even within a community that fights for acceptance we can still take our own level of acceptance a step further.

It’s for that expansion, for the larger embracing of identity within our community, for young and old alike, that I really blog. Because I know that will make Q’s life, whatever path it should take, a whole lot more comfortable. And I know that the change and expansion of notions — around gender identity, youth identity, just basically what folks “should do” with their lives — will make life a whole lot better for a whole lot of folks. So that’s why I’m here. And I feel so thankful to be on this journey with so many others.

Thanks, once again, to Mombian for organizing this celebratory day.

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Something I love about mothering Q and being openly supportive of who he is, how he differs from social norms, etc, is that I get to be an opening for others to share their similar experiences with me.

Friends who write about their sons playing with gender, wearing dresses, wanting to be girls, etc, to others who ask how I explain certain situations to Q that involve gendered (or otherwise) stereotypes. Or even to the teachers who share with me ways that they open up dialogue in the classroom so that Q feels welcome with all of the sides of his identity.

I think that he and this journey push people along their own journies, and I like to think of myself a bit as a hitching post for some folks. A place to rest and gather themselves. To refuel knowing that they are not alone on this path.

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