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Posts Tagged ‘gender’

10-year old Q said to me yesterday: “I’ve been working for YEARS to not just see the boy and girl boxes.” 

I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, so asked him to explain. “You know, like when I’m looking at people.”

Me: “Oh, so when you’re out in the world, you try to just see the person and not put them into a box?”

Q: “Exactly! I keep thinking about it and thinking about it. And I have myself mostly trained.”

We noted how interesting it is that what he hopes from others — that they just see him as himself, as opposed to someone who fits in a particular gendered box — takes years of self training, even for him. 

Here’s to wishing those boxes were not so deeply ingrained in all of our minds, or that we had as much discipline as Q to work to erase them.

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May 2.5 year old daughter loves pink. And wears it a lot. What does this mean?????

ImageAlso, she’s hilarious. Thought I should mention that.

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I think that what is needed here is a series of confession posts. So, here goes (be gentle, please).

Sometimes I prefer to just drop Q off for swim team practice instead of going in so that *I* don’t see the stares or looks he gets from some other kids, siblings, etc. He still is only conscious of that very occasionally. I, however, am hyper aware. And it makes me SO angry. And, at the same time, I feel SO helpless to do anything about it. I’ve considered asking five year olds if they have a particular question about my kiddo. Perhaps I should. I fear how it would go over…

So, I’m feeling cowardly.

Confession #1. Done. (Now, I will proceed to hide, having just shared this hard truth.)

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I’ve been a stingy blogger lately. Very stingy. In fact, WordPress was kind enough to send me a little summary of stats about my blog at the turn of the year. Three. That’s exactly how many posts I wrote last year. Horrible, I say! I realized my stinginess, promised to write more (out loud, even, to a friend!), but then I didn’t.

I just am not sure what to say. I feel like we’re in a holding pattern and like I just don’t know what to feel or say lately. Q remains awesome. Dressing like a girl. Identifying as a boy. Continuing to confuse many people, but apparently not himself. At the same time, something isn’t right for him. He’s sad, often feeling a bit sick….just off. I’m worried. And most of all, sad that I don’t know how to help him see his way through whatever is happening at the moment. That he’s hurting in some way and I can’t just cuddle him and make it all better.

I know that’s part of growing up. For most kids. For many adults, even. But, as a mom, it’s just hard, and it makes my heart hurt.

So, I’ll try to be around a bit more. Though perhaps sharing…just confusion? We shall see.

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Taking a cue from Lesbian Dad, whose back-to-school post can be found here and Mombian, whose post can be found here. This post is more of a reflection and perhaps a few “instructive” thoughts than these other two, as I don’t know that we have tons of expertise around here, but I wanted to take this turning point as a moment to reflect.

Q is starting 4th grade tomorrow, and I’ve written here already about his sweet, sweet school. A school that embraces difference and many identities. A place he’s usually quite happy to be. So, we are so very lucky that this is the place he’s going off to tomorrow. That I’m handing him off into the arms (literally and figuratively) of people who know, respect, and love all parts of our whole (queer) family and our boy.

But, Q has been anxious about the start of school this year. Not happy for the transition from lazy summer days to days full of others. Though he loves it, we know, on some level, that school is hard for Q. As a wise person in our lives said recently, “It’s hard to be Q out in the world.” And that challenge includes school. It’s hard to swim upstream when those around you are easily moving downstream. Even if those around you are more than happy for you to swim against the current, it’s still different. And takes a whole heck of a lot of work. I’ve been working to have lots of compassion for this aspect of Q’s identity and life. And for the fact that he’s still a bit too young to fully understand it, in spite of how wise-beyond-his-years he can be in certain domains.

So tomorrow, he goes off. I’m certain he’ll be okay. And that it will be hard. On levels he can identify and on those he can’t. So were I to give any advice, provide any guidelines, I’d say to look for those levels of comfort and discomfort that your children have — those that they can name and those they can’t. Know that the tears at the end of the day may not be about the fact that your kiddo can’t find her book but may in fact be about the emotional let-down necessary after a long day of just being herself.

I know there will be a whole bunch of conversations we’ll have again tomorrow and in the days to come. Conversations we have a lot. “Do you want us to talk to anyone about it being okay for you to use the single stall bathrooms?” “Do you need any help talking to the kids in your class who are new to the school?” “Is there anything we can tell your teachers to help you feel more comfortable?” Conversations like that, plus a whole lot of waiting, watching, hoping, and then trusting ourselves that we can be a safe and rejuvenating place to come back to. To recharge, feel at home, and then go back out and tackle the world all over again the next day.

I’m looking towards tomorrow with hope and trust….and a wee bit of anxiety, awaiting how things turn out “on the other side.” Hoping that all of your back to schools have been full — of love, acceptance, understanding, and support — really, whatever it is that you need and hope. For you, your families, your kids.

Random Summer Stylin’ (plus “cool” attitude)

Image

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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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I’ve had a few identity conversations lately with Q. Not of the “what’s your identity” type, as he doesn’t seem to have many questions around that, but more of the type that gets into the grey areas of how he plays out his preferences. Like about his hair and his clothing choices. It’s interesting to notice how ensconced he is in his staunch view that choices he makes are because he LIKES things. And that clothes should be for KIDS, not for boys or girls. And on and on down that line of reasoning. I think he’s so settled in this place, for now, that he told me today that thinking about “boys liking girl things” is sort of outside of the domain of his thought. Today I was chatting with him about The Princess Boy. And, in many ways, Q’s response was, to one extent or the other, “What’s all the hullabaloo. He’s a kid and that’s what he likes.” I’m intrigued by this all, particularly as there are still parts of who Q is that make life quite hard for him at times. Our biggest struggle of late involves locker rooms and the pain that he’s experienced there…for both being mistaken for a girl and for being questioned about his fashion choices.

 

Choices, mind you — as in, “choosing what I like to wear.” Not “choosing to wear girls’ clothes.” I appreciate that there’s a nuanced distinction for Q. And that he can voice it to a certain extent. I don’t think the world is yet that nuanced, unfortunately, but there are many paving the way. Thank goodness.

So, identity. It’s an intriguing thing.

 

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