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Posts Tagged ‘identity’

…there are so few models for what it means to grow up genderqueer?

Why is it so hard for young people to chart new pathways in the world?

…there are more questions than answers?

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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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Of the car variety, that is. Have you ever noticed that phenomenon? Someone mentions they love VW beetles, and suddenly you see them all over? Or you see a witty bumper sticker for the first time, and the next thing you know, it seems that everyone at Whole Foods is sporting the same sticker? Well, it’s been like that for me since starting this blog. Sometimes in very small ways, and sometimes in profound ways.

On the subject of bumper stickers, yesterday I encountered one that said simply “Support tenderness in men,” or something perhaps a bit more elegant than my own butchered rephrasing. I thought to myself, “tenderness:” we’ve always known that our boy was tender in many ways. And I think that we’ve tried to nurture that tenderness, knowing that the world can use more gentle and tender men. More men who are in touch with their emotions and able to show them. And even though this sometimes means big crying fits for Q, it also means that he loves the simple beauty of a tender rose or the wonder of a butterfly’s precious wings. So it’s nice to know that there’s at least a few others out there vocalizing their support for tenderness in men (and boys).

And then there’s our dear friend X, who loves Q like no other can. And who, as you may have read in his comment, also struggles with the idea of Q wearing dresses on occasion, although he knows that deep down this is a learning opportunity for all of us (boy is it!). I know he’s been thinking hard about this whole concept of Q in dresses, Q and his identity, and how Q’s identity pushes at social boundaries at times. He related to us that he recently visited friends who have a boy near to Q’s age. Who also likes to wear dresses. So it’s not an isolated phenomenon, realized X. And he felt less alone, I think. And a bit more at peace, I think. And I think that’s why I write this too, to reach out to find out that I’m not alone, to open my eyes to other boundary-pushing instances, which are popping up all around me, and to let others out there who have kiddos like Q or hope to raise kiddos like Q know that they are not alone.

So lately, in seeing things like other boys at Q’s school outwardly embracing the fact that they love pink, visiting a classroom there and learning that it’s the boys who most love to play with the dolls and that the teacher embraces this, and seeing another boy or two pushing the gender envelope with his clothing, I don’t feel so much alone. I think it’s that beetle phenomenon. I’ve been thinking so much about Q and his unique identity. And then made the leap to share that journey publicly. And now, that journey begins to cross paths with others who may be along similar pathways. I like the eye-opening that is happening here.

painted nails climbing trees

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