On another site I visit, someone posted a link to this NPR story about transgender children and two radically different approaches to “dealing” with their gender identity. Check it out here.
I link to this story not because I think that Q is transgender. But more because of both the fear it instilled in me regarding how some folks advocate working with kids whose expressions of individuality stretch beyond how society thinks they should express themselves AND the hope and calm that other approaches provided. There are plenty of folks — parents, professionals, community members — out there who know that it’s important to embrace kids, no matter what they choose to wear, what they choose to play with, who they choose to play with. And then there are others who try to restrict these choices in an effort to “help” kids fit into how society thinks they should act because of their gender.
It is this kind of help that makes me fearful. Yet, I do see moments in myself where I want to nudge Q towards wearing more “boyish” clothing or find myself fighting an urge to invite him to dress in a fairy costume, etc. I dislike these moments. A lot. Yet I know, from the NPR story, and from living life in this world, that they are more expected and accepted than the times when I am able to keep an open mind and to just nurture Q’s happiness and passions.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this NPR piece, and also ideas for how we can support our children’s passions unconditionally so they do not end up suppressed and performing for their parents (like Bradley in the story), as opposed to living fully as themselves.