We Think He Might Be a Boy
August 1, 2013 12:56 PM   Subscribe

MeFi's own not that girl writes about Raising a Transgender Child. [via mefi projects]
posted by lalex (80 comments total) 96 users marked this as a favorite
 
not that girl, you are a wonderful, amazing mom.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:58 PM on August 1, 2013 [33 favorites]


I'm in awe. Not only for what a great job I think you're doing, but for how natural and simple you make it seem.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for writing this, not that girl, and for providing a wonderful model for other families to follow.
posted by scody at 1:04 PM on August 1, 2013


That was lovely, and the experiences of transgender people (and their families) are so alien to all of my experiences that I am always grateful to read honest, natural, and even a little bit anxious, essays about them.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:07 PM on August 1, 2013


You're an excellent writer; I hope you'll keep it up!
posted by threeants at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2013


My parents are cool but I honestly wonder what the world looks like to someone who gets used to having supernaturally understanding parents.
posted by Teakettle at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


I loved this passage:
At the end of the year, his preschool puts on a concert. The girls are brilliant in tulle and glitter and sequined barrettes. He is wearing a polo shirt and cargo shorts. I point to where the girls are showing off their dresses to each other, twirling their skirts. I would have loved those dresses at three. I would have loved to buy them for my daughter. I say, “Do you think you would ever want a dress like that?”

“No,” he says. “And I don’t want you to ask me that ever again.”

So I don’t.
posted by lalex at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2013 [40 favorites]


Thank you for putting yourself and your family (and especially the tiny tornado) out for the world to see what a wonderful family model you have. Thank you not that girl, for being part of MeFi and sharing yourself with us. Thank you for your generous and thoughtful words.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:14 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was so beautiful, not that girl. Thank you for writing it.

And thank you for posting it, lalex--I don't often check Projects.

This comment by a reader named Emily is a very articulate explanation of trans* issues, by the way.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:14 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is indeed some pretty awesome parenting. That said, kids do change as they grow up so the Tornado may eventually change his mind about being a girl. Maybe not. Who knows. It's definitely hard to let you kid be themselves and not conform to some arbitrary gender stereotype.
posted by GuyZero at 1:14 PM on August 1, 2013


not that girl, you are my new superhero. This is absolutely incredible.
posted by RainyJay at 1:15 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


What a wonderful young man you are raising, not that girl! And I loved the "looking gooood" comment. It's great when a kid has a sense of self worth.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:16 PM on August 1, 2013


I loved everything about this, and am crying at my desk. Thank you, not that girl.
posted by coppermoss at 1:17 PM on August 1, 2013


Beautiful.
posted by maryr at 1:17 PM on August 1, 2013


He trusts us, though, when we say that he is the person who best knows whether he is a boy. He trusts us when we say we can help him with this, that he can grow up to be a man if he wants to, that he can grow up to be any kind of man he wants to be. That he can grow up to be a good man. That we think he will grow up to be the very best kind of man.

Yeah, I'm crying. I wish at least reaching for the fullest potential each individual can achieve was the rule, rather than the exception, but even though it feels rare it becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration for so many others whenever it happens. You're a good person, not that girl. I wish I could hug you.
posted by byanyothername at 1:23 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I turn the page, and there’s a picture of a boy wearing an oxford shirt, khakis, a v-neck sweater vest, a blazer. “Ooohhh,” he sighs, gazing at it yearningly. He learns, from somewhere, about suits with ties, and I buy him one. He is dazzlingly happy, shiningly handsome.

I hope you're getting the support you need in raising a preppie.

(A joke! This is awesome!)
posted by rtha at 1:23 PM on August 1, 2013 [38 favorites]


This is a wonderful account! Thank you for sharing your story.
posted by xingcat at 1:30 PM on August 1, 2013


Not that girl, I love what a vivid picture you paint of the Tiny Tornado in just a handful of paragraphs, while simultaneously alluding to aspects (like your father's reaction) that must cut so deeply for you. So glad you wrote this.

You and your partner sound like awesome parents, and your son is obviously an incredibly cool kid.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:31 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


not that girl, you are a beautiful writer and my new hero. Your son looks like a charmer. Thanks for the opportunity to glimpse into your life.
posted by lilac girl at 1:33 PM on August 1, 2013


I say, “Do you think you would ever want a dress like that?”

“No,” he says. “And I don’t want you to ask me that ever again.”

So I don’t.


this literally made me cry, and i'm not even sure why. why?

Excellent article, amazing parents, and a really blessed kid
posted by MoxieProxy at 1:36 PM on August 1, 2013


this literally made me cry, and i'm not even sure why. why?

Because people being respected is such a beautiful thing?
posted by stoneweaver at 1:53 PM on August 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


At the risk of being totally inappropriate, and my sincere apologies to any transgender people if I am offensive, would the world be an easier place if we only used non-gender specific pronouns, and roles weren't gender based? If we could choose clothes, and ornament based on what we liked, rather than as a signifier of a gender? Of course, it's not going to happen in our lifetimes, if ever, but it seems to me, that so much of a person's identity can be channeled / forced in a direction that they are not interested in pursuing because of traditional ideas about gender.
posted by b33j at 1:55 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


would the world be an easier place if we only used non-gender specific pronouns, and roles weren't gender based

I don't think that's necessarily the solution. A lot of people have very defined gender identities. It sounds like Tiny Tornado does as well; it's just not the same gender identity that his parents imagined he would have.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:58 PM on August 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is so completely, wonderfully perfect.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you, roomthreeseventeen. I guess I can't help wondering if gender identities for all of us are somewhat artificial.
posted by b33j at 2:08 PM on August 1, 2013


lalex, thank you for posting this. not that girl, thank you for writing this, and for being such a loving and perceptive parent. Your son sounds pretty awesome. I have 1 child, a son, and I do love some of the very adorable clothes for girls. So my 7 year old friend benefits from my shopping sometimes.
posted by theora55 at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


would the world be an easier place if we only used non-gender specific pronouns

Well, it's not impossible, but obviously, alone, is unlikely to make much difference. There is no grammatical gender at all in Armenian, including in pronouns, for example (and I've noticed this causing difficulties for Armenian speakers when using language with grammatical gender, for example confusing "his" and "her", so it might be indicated to have a conceptual impact), but that doesn't seem to make Armenian speakers' lives any less gendered. I still think it would be a step in the right direction, though.
posted by howfar at 2:18 PM on August 1, 2013


also, I recommend reading more at not that girl's blog, tapeflags.blogspot.com/
posted by theora55 at 2:27 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


That said, kids do change as they grow up so the Tornado may eventually change his mind about being a girl.

He's known who he is and has communicated that since before he was TWO.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:30 PM on August 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


>That said, kids do change as they grow up so the Tornado may eventually change his mind about being a girl.

He's known who he is and has communicated that since before he was TWO.


It's also not as if not that girl didn't mention the possibility that he could grow up to be a girl/woman a couple times. It's within the realm of possibility. It's no better or worse than if he grows up to be a boy/man. However, it seems a bit out of order to bring up that possibility as if it weren't mentioned in the article.
posted by hoyland at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


He's known who he is and has communicated that since before he was TWO.

Sure. And not everyone ends up being who they thought they were when they were two. Good for his parents for not yielding to pressure to make the kid a certain way.
posted by GuyZero at 2:44 PM on August 1, 2013


It's dusty in here. Yep.
posted by deezil at 2:59 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


And not everyone ends up being who they thought they were when they were two. Good for his parents for not yielding to pressure to make the kid a certain way.

Right, but we're (or at least I'm) objecting to specifically applauding them for that, as if parents of trans kids usually have some agenda of making sure their kid grows up trans. not that girl can speak for her own experience, but, in general, there's far, far, far more pressure to have your kid not be trans or for you to not be trans than there is to acknowledge your child's gender or to transition.
posted by hoyland at 3:05 PM on August 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


I think parents can get all sorts of things things stuck in their heads about their kids. I have no idea why my wife thinks she knows what son is going to do for a living, but she does. Sometimes a kid shows an interest in something that just goes away later on but the parents keep on about it. I realize there's a lot of pressure for people to not be trans but in my own mind at least it's just about letting the kid change of they want to change about anything, it's not really gender-identity-specific in my own mind.

I really am sensitive to what you're saying and my comment is not meant to be a cryptic way of suggesting that it would somehow be better if he went back to his biological gender identity.
posted by GuyZero at 3:12 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


But why not raise the same point in the context of a cisgender child? They might 'change their mind' too.
posted by howfar at 3:36 PM on August 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


I regularly bring the point up in the context of cisgendered children, except usually I'm describing the educational and career path required to be an astronaut and how the kid I'm talking to is a lot more likely to be an accountant. And a bad accountant at that.

That I'm a negative person doesn't mean I'm discriminatory against transgendered people.
posted by GuyZero at 3:41 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"what if the trans person changes their mind" is one of those things that gets trotted out so often to trans people that it becomes a sort of aggressive act through the fact that it takes place in the context of society rather than a vacuum where intentions can assuage effects, so of course there's going to be pushback against the way you felt the need to bring it up.
posted by titus n. owl at 3:51 PM on August 1, 2013 [26 favorites]


Can we please not do the "what if he changes his mind again?" derail?
posted by Betafae at 3:52 PM on August 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


excellent writing, excellent parenting. I really appreciate how you take his feelings into consideration, regardless of whether he started feeling he like he was a boy at 2 or 20. Not every trans* person experiences the "I always felt this way," which sometimes can be the bar that is set so high on whose experience is more valid than whose.

Thanks so much for sharing your family's story.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:09 PM on August 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't think anyone has said that knowing early makes anyone's experience more valid. Every person's experience is equally valid and their desires, feelings, and knowledge of self should be respected full stop.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:16 PM on August 1, 2013


Well, nobody in this thread, maybe, but I understand Wuggie's sentiment because that's another of those things that get said a lot In General (my parents still struggle with believing me about my own identity because I was perfectly happy wearing a skirt when I was in Brownie Scouts, for instance, if it was "real" surely I would have come out before I was in my late 20s, they feel).
posted by titus n. owl at 4:21 PM on August 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


An inspiring and hopeful story, and a lovely telling. Thank you very much.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:29 PM on August 1, 2013


NOBODY ends up being "what they think they are" when they're two. Some of the elements of our identities and sense of self stay the same, and some change -- all our lives, through choice and circumstance and cultural influence. It seems to me that the people who end up the happiest along the way are the ones who have the most support and flexibility from their parents, friends, and others to be as unconstrained as possible in those choices and changes.

That's exactly why this essay is so lovely. Not that girl and her partner are providing a safe and supportive foundation for TT's own self-determination. Every kid should have a home like that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:32 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


also, I recommend reading more at not that girl's blog, tapeflags.blogspot.com/

Seconding this. Not that girl's entire blog touches on so many different issues: gender, race, adoption, family, and so much more, and with such openness, intelligence and grace.

I went back and started reading at the beginning and haven't been able to tear myself away yet.
posted by marsha56 at 4:45 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


My god. Imagine a world where most parents get it.
posted by Twang at 5:22 PM on August 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


I first saw this a few months ago, and thought it was wonderful.

Glad to be reminded of it, and I'm reading her blog now!
posted by menialjoy at 6:21 PM on August 1, 2013


Thanks so much for all the kind words. When I saw this had been posted, I squealed and jumped I was so startled. And thrilled. And nervous.

I actually wrote a blog post today called, "How Do You Know He Won't Change His Mind?" It's not so much about TT as it is a report on a session I attended at the TransHealth conference in June at which Dr. Johanna Olson, who works extensively with trans kids, spoke. I took about a thousand pages of notes, it was so informative. One of the things that interested me was that she raised almost immediately this question of how you know, with young kids, who is trans, and who is "merely" gender variant and will grow up to affirm the gender they were assigned at birth, because this is something practitioners wonder about as well. The upshot is you can't really know, but you can make informed guesses, and one way to avoid doing harm is to be conservative in providing treatment. Nothing we've done so far with TT, for instance, is irreversible. And there are no irreversible options until he is much, much older. So we have time to figure things out.

I used to say, "He is wanting to use male pronouns for now," or "for now, he wants us to treat him as a boy," especially when explaining the situation to other children in our lives. That has fallen somewhat by the wayside as his male gender identity has persisted, but I don't worry much about what will happen if he decides to revert. That's a bridge we plan to cross when and if we come to it.
posted by not that girl at 6:48 PM on August 1, 2013 [28 favorites]


Awesome stuff. This made me laugh:

"he grabs a worn-out Spiderman t-shirt that is much too big for him. He wears it all summer. I get it off him every five days or so to wash it, and he puts it back on as soon as it comes out of the dryer." - heh, substitute red gingham shirt and that was me at 5.

And this bit - what a great school principle she sounds : "He tries to pee standing up, and manages surprisingly well, but usually decides to sit down. “He splatters more when he stands up,” I tell his principal. “Well, that certainly sets him apart from the rest of the boys,” she jokes."

Ace.

Also, he is way cute!
posted by marienbad at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Tiny Tornado is awesome. I love how kids can be totally self-confident about things that seem so complicated to adults.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:24 PM on August 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


This made me crazy happy. Thank you lalex for bringing it to my attention, and thank you not that girl for really doing right by what sounds like a pretty great kid.
posted by Rocky Mtn Erica at 8:21 PM on August 1, 2013


It's funny (in an ironic, not actually funny way) how cisgender people expect us trans people to have known that we were trans from a very early age or it's somehow not genuine; yet at the same time, kids who know from a very early age are told their feelings can't be genuine because they're too young. Subtext: trans feelings can never be authentic.

Anyway: not that girl, you sound like an amazing mom. I hope lots of people learn from your example.
posted by jiawen at 8:45 PM on August 1, 2013 [35 favorites]


(Okay, this blog post? The "mail forwarding stage"? YES. I was sure it was just me. When my ex was transitioning, there were a few weeks when I was calling everyone "he." Somehow, "Never use feminine pronouns ever" was an easier rule for my brain to process than "Stop using feminine pronouns with your boyfriend.")
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:04 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I seriously burst into tears reading this, because I can barely imagine what the world would be like if everyone just fucking accepted other people the way they are, they way you do for your son.

It's beautiful.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:14 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually wrote a blog post today called, "How Do You Know He Won't Change His Mind?"

I was a little uneasy when reading the article because this question kept running through my head.

But someone had linked to your blog upthread, so I'd just finished reading this which dispelled any lingering unease that I had.

And then I read a few other pieces. When I have time, I'll read the lot.

Anyway: not that girl, you sound like an amazing mom.

Yeah, this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:29 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why my wife thinks she knows what son is going to do for a living, but she does. Sometimes a kid shows an interest in something that just goes away later on but the parents keep on about it. I realize there's a lot of pressure for people to not be trans but in my own mind at least it's just about letting the kid change of they want to change about anything, it's not really gender-identity-specific in my own mind.

Maybe your issue is more with your wife than with not that girl.

I mean, I'm not sure how you can read that account of how those parents have been listening very attentively to their child and yet STILL feel obligated to chime in with "yeah, but what if he changes his mind, huh?" Do you really think that hadn't occurred to them before your helpful interjection?
posted by dogrose at 8:11 AM on August 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


I applaud the fabulous parents who support trans children and am lucky to know such parents myself. I worry about not-anonymous accounts and photos. I think, "it is the child's story to tell or not." I appreciate that parents have a story, too, and that their story may help the world, but I worry. (Same issue arises in other parenting contexts.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:13 AM on August 2, 2013


Thank you, not that girl, both for being who you are and for sharing that person with us.
posted by Corinth at 9:43 AM on August 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


So a couple with "intimate connections" to the trans community has a child that at 2 years old starts exhibiting signs of trans behaviour....

after reading "Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences" by Cordelia Fine and various other stuff on Gender I find this really difficult to accept as not irresponsible.

I don't believe there is a compelling case for gender being non-social or that an < 5 year old can have a properly developed sense of gender enough to be "trans" except that perhaps there were subconscius subliminal cues provided by the parents actually pushing in that direction.

yes upbringing and social development are forms of indoctrination that's the point. That's why society works. I think a case can be made that at least attempting to instill "normal" behaviours in children is a moral obligation.

Its like children who will only eat white foods or some such and their parents simply accept this as ok then wonder why they grow up with diabetes.
posted by mary8nne at 10:45 AM on August 2, 2013


Heartwarming as fuck.

I hope the Tiny Tornado won't mind me blatantly stealing his "Lookin’ good. Lookin’ handsome." line the next time I'm driving home from the barber. And all the times after that.

What a wonderful young man you are raising, not that girl!

Crikey, I failed to register 'not that girl' as a username for a split second, which made me interpret that sentence in a way that definitely wasn't intended!
posted by jack_mo at 10:46 AM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


hello mary8nne i'm an actual alive human being who is transgendered and i think a case can be made that calling me abnormal is offensive as is implying that it's somehow immoral for me to behave in a way you feel is abnormal, and both of those things are implied by the idea that "there's a moral obligation to make children act normal"
posted by titus n. owl at 10:51 AM on August 2, 2013 [21 favorites]


("normal" has an implied value judgement which "common" does not, in case you're planning to come back with "WELL IT IS NORMAL, YOU'RE A MINORITY THEREFORE")
posted by titus n. owl at 10:52 AM on August 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


after reading "Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences" by Cordelia Fine and various other stuff on Gender I find this really difficult to accept as not irresponsible.

So you read a book. The author of the link in this fpp is right here in this thread. Do you have any actual questions for her? Have you read through the various entries of her blog where she talks about the process they're going through, the research they've done, the conferences they go to? Or are you content that the book you've read is the sum total of what there is to know about this, and to assume that the parents of TT are just ignorant and haven't thought about this?
posted by rtha at 10:53 AM on August 2, 2013 [16 favorites]


Also! My sister-in-law was a kid who only ate white foods and now she runs marathons and is wicked healthy. Anecdata.
posted by rtha at 10:54 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The original piece really seems to reveal itself at the end.

That he can grow up to be a good man. That we think he will grow up to be the very best kind of man.

Its telling that a pro-trans story relies on such a sentimental appeal to these traditional stereotyped roles of men - the "good man" etc rather than really questioning the arbitrariness of gender itself. Its the sort of phrase you'd read in To Kill A Mockingbird or something straight out of the 1950s.

On "normal"...Well I believe that morals are merely the "norms" of society - so yes there is a "moral" obligation to push a child towards normalcy. To help form a "productive" member of society... and its not like the author doesn't want to do that in most respects. She wants to raise a "good man" - ie a productive solid 1950s sort of man who knows his place in the world (but just happens to be biologically female). Its not revolutionary, its purely reactive.

An ungendered child would be revolutionary.
posted by mary8nne at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2013


I try to be a person who could be described as a "good man" in the sense of being a man and being a good person at the same time without personally feeling that the phrase implies buying into 1950s ideals of masculinity in either gender expression nor behavior. i think it's cool how psychic you are about what specific meanings not that girl intended to be read into the phrase, since you're not just saying that that's what the phrase means to you but outright asserting that it's what she believes as well

also, do you think being a productive member of society is impossible if that person is trans?
posted by titus n. owl at 11:33 AM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


The last line is mentioned in the comments particularly for its ability to make someone cry / etc so its not just me that finds is particularly sentimental.

Are you denying that it has echoes of old fashioned traditional male gender roles?
posted by mary8nne at 11:42 AM on August 2, 2013


She wants to raise a "good man" - ie a productive solid 1950s sort of man

I suspect you are unqualified to infer what the author actually means by the term "a good man," so any "purely reactive" moral judgments seem to be yours.

I believe that morals are merely the "norms" of society

Ah. So presumably you believe that Jim Crow (for example) was moral, because it was the norm in a particular society for many years. But now it's not moral, because it's not. Gotcha.
posted by scody at 11:42 AM on August 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


i asked you a question and i'd like you to answer it, so i will answer yours

i do not deny that the phrase has echoes of that, but i do deny that those echoes comprise the entirety of the phrase's denotation
posted by titus n. owl at 11:43 AM on August 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I worry about not-anonymous accounts and photos. I think, "it is the child's story to tell or not." I appreciate that parents have a story, too, and that their story may help the world, but I worry. (Same issue arises in other parenting contexts.)

Ha, ClaudiaCenter, I worry about this, too! Sometimes I think, "Well, this is the mom my kids got--I've been writing about my life for decades now, and if they didn't want to be part of that, they should have arranged to have a different mom." And sometimes I think, "Surely I am doing wrong! Other people would like to write about their kids but have more self-control!" If you have looked into older blog posts, you'll see that I used to use everyone's name; now I pseudonymize everyone but me, which is more a gesture toward privacy than a protection of it, especially since my partner and I haven't sorted out any easy way to pseudonymize old posts. I'm not sure where the line is.

I recently was telling a very old friend of mine a story about my oldest son during a difficult time in his childhood, and she said, "I think you do OK about sharing, because I've read everything you've written and I never knew his behavior was that challenging during that time." So it was nice to think that I do sometimes hold some things back.

The Tiny Tornado is an extremely self-assured, strong-willed child. I think that I write about him in ways I wouldn't write about my older kids because it seems to me that, temperamentally, he can handle it. I hope I'm right about that. I had the chance to meet Coy Mathis' parents earlier this summer, and one of the things they said that struck me was that they chose to pursue the lawsuit against their school district because they could. "We just don't care what people say about us," one of them said. They saw themselves as doing some good for people who don't have the same freedom and resources.

I feel that way about me and TT. We have a great deal of support--my partner and I had 13 adult guests at our 20th anniversary party in June, and six of them were on the female-to-male trans spectrum. Nearly all the rest were G, L, or B. We are knowledgeable about trans issues--I meet so many parents of trans kids who are having to think about it and learn about it for the first time as they're raising their kids, but we did our freaking out and got over it 15 years ago. My Quaker community is loving and supportive of me and my kids, as is my local homeschooling community. And TT and I are both big personalities. We're just in an unusually good place to be more public than other people are able to be, and sometimes I feel like that obligates us just a little bit.

But I continue to be somewhat conflicted about the subject, and often turn to my partner, whose judgment I trust absolutely, to help me decide what is and isn't OK. This article, which I thought was going to be read by a fairly small group of Quakers, has gone viral in a small way--the magazine editor told me they've have more traffic at the website in the last 24 hours than in the whole previous year--and if it leads to the possibility of more publicity, I'll need to do some discernment about that, with the support of my partner and Quaker elders.

mary8anne, you are reading a lot into the phrase "a good man" that is not there for me. If you are interested in what I think a good man is, you should feel free to ask me in good faith, and I will answer in the same vein. I certainly was not making a sentimental appeal to traditional manhood.

An ungendered child would be revolutionary.

This is another thing people always say when the subject of trans or gender variant kids comes up. My son has a very strong sense of himself as male. He does not experience himself as "ungendered." To try to raise him as "ungendered" would be profoundly disrespectful. But I invite any parent who sees this as a worthwhile endeavor to try raising their own children as ungendered, and would be interested to hear about the experience.
posted by not that girl at 11:49 AM on August 2, 2013 [15 favorites]


[Deleted a comment. Please a) do not frame comments as interrogating individuals about their beliefs, and b) be aware that trans issues have a long history of discussion on Metafilter, there are many trans people here as well as friends and relatives, and if you want to start a debate about whether or not they exist this is not your venue. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:29 PM on August 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


mary8anne, I think this is probably the last time I'll respond to you, because it seems like you're having trouble reading clearly what I'm saying. For instance, I did not characterize you or your argument as disrespectful; I said that it would be disrespectful to try to raise my son as "ungendered," contrary to his own experience of himself.

I do not need to reconcile my son's experience of himself with a feminist idea that gender is a purely social construct because I find the idea of a purely socially-constructed gender entirely unpersuasive. Nor do I believe that I have to believe in a purely socially-constructed gender in order to be a feminist. I was a women's studies major; I know how much feminists disagree with each other, and how vehemently.

I wish you the best.
posted by not that girl at 12:31 PM on August 2, 2013 [15 favorites]


mary8anne; you may want to check out some additional books where the concept of an entirely (or even mostly) social gender is put into the context of lived experience. For starters Whipping Girl is most excellent.
posted by odinsdream at 1:38 PM on August 2, 2013


not that girl, you are a class act.
posted by lalex at 5:29 PM on August 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


not that girl, your post has been getting re-shared all over my fb feed today, and every time someone else shares it, I can't help thinking "hey, I know her!"
posted by gingerbeer at 9:05 PM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


gingerbeer: I know! I've been having the same experience with PhoBWanKenobi and the attention she's getting for her first novel, and then I have to remember that I haven't actually ever met her.

I've never had anything go viral before. And our little Quaker magazine has never had so many hits--the editor got in touch with me yesterday to say he was happy he let the executive director talk him into the more robust hosting plan; he hadn't thought they'd ever need it. It's being a very interesting experience, and, coincidentally, happened on the Tiny Tornado's sixth birthday. So yesterday was a heck of a day.
posted by not that girl at 7:10 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my! Please tell the Tiny Tornado that The Internet wishes him a (belated) happy birthday!

I remember being six. It was excellent.
posted by rtha at 7:12 AM on August 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Happy birthday!
posted by gingerbeer at 9:20 AM on August 3, 2013


What a beautiful little face! Happy birthday, TT!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 AM on August 3, 2013


Happy Birthday TT!
posted by marienbad at 7:28 PM on August 3, 2013


b33j: If we could choose clothes, and ornament based on what we liked, rather than as a signifier of a gender?
...which would obviously be infringing on the rights of girlie-girls and cross-dressing queens, manly-men and leather daddies alike, to display their gender proudly with their adornments...

So, in the end: the world would only be a better place if people acted better in it; not because of any restrictions or "debranding" of actual lifestyle choices (like leather, denim, miniskirts, lipstick...).
posted by IAmBroom at 12:01 PM on August 6, 2013


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