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Tuesday
May242011

Gender/Sex Secret -- For How Long Really?


There has been a lot of talk on the Internet and in traditional media about a Toronto couple that has decided not to reveal the sex of their child to anyone other than the midwife and the child's older brothers.  This is not the first time this has happened -- a couple in Sweden got a lot of press for doing the same thing a few years ago (I haven't been able to find any updates on that story, but would be interested in seeing how things are going now that the child is four).

My thoughts on this are quite simple:

  1. I agree that it is best to shield small children from gender stereotypes and being pigeon-hold into specific roles, likes and dislikes.

  2. I think that most children will begin to identify with a gender at a certain age (my guess based on what I've seen/read would be around 3 to 5 years old), whether that gender has been pushed on them or not. If a gender has been pushed on them that does not fit, that may be about the age when they start to feel uncomfortable with the gender that has been ascribed to them.

  3. I think that the most damaging gender stereotyping starts at about that same age and continues through to adulthood, so I'm not sure that making a baby/toddler genderless will make much difference except perhaps in those children who would have been labelled with the wrong gender (transgender).


Ultimately, my opinion is that:

  • If parents do not want to reveal the sex of their child, then it isn't a big deal because the child will probably reveal his/her gender soon enough. The child is unlikely to go through life as genderless unless the child so chooses.

  • Regardless of whether the parents reveal the sex of a baby/small child, I think that there is work to be done in battling gender stereotypes.


What do you think? Does it really matter if parents opt not to reveal the sex of their child? Does it make a difference (positive or negative)?

Image credit: HORIZON on flickr
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Reader Comments (40)

I often wish I had had the foresight to keep T's sex secret. She has a very gender neutral name intentionally and yet, at almost 3, people continually force assumptions on her. Today at the pool, a neighbor commented on my recently-dyed- pink hair and said "I bet Teylor loves it! I know pink Is probably her favorite color isn't it?"

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVioletsouffle

Since becoming a parent, I've thought about gender a lot. Mostly because people "force" you too. I have an eight year old girl who dislikes all things "girly" and a two year old boy, who doesn't seem to have an opinion yet. But people are constantly referring to things about both of my kids in terms of gender. I find myself constantly contradicting people's assumptions. I've had people say, "Ah, boys, just not interested in cuddling", "My baby doesn't like to snuggle, I think it's a boy thing", "My boy is really into girls already!" (He was under a year) "Didn't she buy anything ... well, girly with her birthday money?", "She'll grow into the 'Barbie' phase". We're just starting to get weird looks because my son likes to carry around dolls quite frequently. I agree with most of what you've posted, accept the piece about an infant/toddler noticing the gender roles forced on them. I think it would be impossible for a baby not to be influenced by such strong, cultural opinions on gender. They can't articulate or tell you about it, but I can't believe they aren't watching and absorbing it all. I wish my kids could grow up without people telling them what "being a girl" or "being a boy" looks like.

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKara

Even if the child is dressed in neutral clothing, people will still make assumptions about his/her gender based on facial features and hair. Then they'll be confused and make dumb comments if you correct them, so I don't see the benefit.

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah M.

I remember reading about the couple in Sweden a while ago. Theoretically, growing up genderless sounds nice. But practically speaking, I think that any benefit gained from this would be far outweighed by the huge burden imposed by making a small child live under such a veil of secrecy. I mean, when I think of all the relatives, friends, and childcare people who have changed my sons' diapers, given them baths, or seen them running/crawling around naked, I just can't imagine how a family could pull this off without being really isolated. And possibly giving their child really negative messages about their body if it is constantly being hidden.

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChanna

My ten-month old daughter often gets mistaken for a boy, even when she wears pink. Sometimes I correct people, sometimes I don't.

My wife and I do our best to avoid forcing gender roles on our daughter. We've provided her with toys that are traditionally male (blocks, a toy truck), and toys that are female (dolls). We try not to assume that she's going to have a certain career or that she'll practice a certain sexuality.

We're going to support her in whatever sort of life she wants to lead.

Channa:

That was one of my thoughts. Letting our kid run around naked and being able to change a diaper anywhere were convenient and also allowed our kids a lot of freedom.

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

There has been at least one previous instance of parents not revealing their babies' sex in Canada as well. (I'm hoping to have the parent of one of these now teenaged children write a guest post about his experience on my blog.) I don't think there were any ill effects on the children whatsoever.

It amazes me that people are so hung up about the gender of infants and young children. When my twin girls were babies, I dressed them in neutral colours, and for that reason alone, everyone assumed they were boys. Nannies and other moms would chide me in the park for not "marking" their gender by means of a headband or a touch of pink. Crazy!

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenternorthTOmom

I found the assumptions made about the gender of my child had a lot more to do with hair than clothing. My girl wore a lot of pink frilly dresses (inevitable disclaimer: The clothes were gifts, cute and besides I grew up in a culture where pink is actually for boys so it's a bit facile to assume I'm conforming). I would be stopped regularly by people gushing over "my boy", despite the most stereotypical "girl clothing" on the market. Now that she has long curly blond hair, this has probably happened once in the last two months.

The last time it happened she was wearing a dress and had her hair in pigtails. Honestly, I think some people just don't pay a lot of attention (and say stupid things because they don't know what to say).

I certainly sympathize with the parents but I also think their decision is weird. By trying to avoid stereotyping they are making a big huge deal out of "choosing your gender". That sounds like the other end of a pendulum to me. If no one should care about your gender, then why is it a secret?

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary @ Parenthood

Not surprisingly, these comments are a lot more accepting of this decision than the main article. I don't see the big deal and I think it's great, actually, although i don't think it will make a huge difference. I think it's less a veil of secrecy than perhaps having people rethink their decisions (e.g. gifts, play, references to the child). I remember my mom reading the "X" story the family referenced, in that (fiction) the teacher had to start categorizing kids by things other than sex, and people stopped obsessing over it. I think it reflects more the openess, acceptance of the family of their kids choices vs societies, which probably bothers some people.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I agree that gender can only remain a secret for so long, but I wonder if it might be longer than one might think. I suspect that gender-awareness and self-identifying as male or female comes as early as it does because it is encouraged by people close to the child, albeit unintentionally much of the time. If the parents can successfully avoid gender bias in the home, the secret may continue for some time, depending on the child's level of community involvement.

This strikes me as more a social statement than anything, however, as I think the benefits for the child are outweighed by the difficulty they will encounter as an "other" if their gender remains a secret into childhood. The greatest benefit I can see is that these cases force society to examine gender stereotypes.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Articles I read about this family indicate that they don't "hide" the kids. If people need to look to clarify something for themselves then the parents POV is so be it.

I don't think the family is not "revealing" or keeping the gender a "secret", rather they are not telling, which, to me, is two separate things.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

northTOmom:

Please let me know when you publish that guest post. I'd love to read it.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I love the idea, although there's NO WAY I'd want to go through all the work to make this happen. I DO think it matters, and I worry all the time that we can't box out all the gender stereotyping that gets pushed on our little one. We kept the sex of our child a secret until he was born, precisely for that reason, and that resulted in quite a bit of acrimony even then. I struggle with gender being "assigned" to my son via society, and I occasionally feel guilty that my parenting style tends toward what most would call "masculine" play (I don't call it that! But since I was tiny, I've been a roughhousing sports lover who could care less about girly clothes, hair, makeup, etc., and I absolutely LOATHE pink. So tossing my child in the air when we play or going to sporting events, or even watching the traffic in front of the house for the cool cars--that's really my style. And it would be with a daughter, too). I dress him in hand-me-downs from boys AND girls, and his name is very intentionally gender-neutral. But actually hiding his sex? That would take a gargantuan effort. I mentally kick myself every time someone asks, "How old is she?" and I answer "He's one." I just feel like answering with "she" feels dishonest. In many ways, what this couple is doing seems to be the purest, least hypocritical form of my ideal. I wish we lived in a world where people didn't freak out about letting a child choose his/her own way.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Sara:

I was under the impression that they use that approach with their older boys, who often wear pink dresses and have long hair. However, with the new baby my understanding was that they were going to actively hide the child's sex.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

FWIW, in the article the mother said if some stranger wanted to take a peak while she was changing Storm's diaper, that's their "journey." So I assume they aren't trying to actually hide the sex of their baby, they just aren't announcing it.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter1001petals

I don't actually have concerns about not revealing the sex. I've never met a child who made it to 4 without getting naked in public, so I don't think it'll be an issue for long.

But, I do have other concerns. Further down the article it says the oldest child keeps a journal under the pseudonym "Gender Explorer". I honestly don't see a kid that age nicknaming themselves that off the top of their heads. So it suggests to me that the parents are providing a lot of commentary, rather than simply letting the children make the choices they want. It's a very fine line between telling your son it's ok like 'girl' things and telling him you want him to like them.

The other concern is again with the oldest child. He told the interviewer he'd like to go to school, but he doesn't want to get teased. I really hope that when the parents are telling him he can choose, that they include the option of choosing to conform. I hope they're not putting such a negative spin on conforming that he thinks they would disapprove if he chose to wear more conventional clothes to go to school.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrissyFair

I think it's interesting that often the same people who believe gender is so rigid and that gender differences are innate, will also freak out about things like this and believe that parents who don't reinforce all the usual stereotypes will "screw up" their kids, as if the kids won't "know" what gender they are without all the outside cues. So.... which is it? Are we creating gender with our socialization, or is it inborn in which case what the parents do wouldn't even matter?

I read recently of a study that showed that babies as young as sub-1yr showed gender-typed preferences for toys (the boys gravitated to cars, the girls to dolls). But under about 2-3yrs they had no gendered preference for colors, while after age 3 they had strongly gendered color preferences. I do think they take in messages un the first years about gender, though it may not be as blatant yet.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy

My concern s is the potential for this social statement to be made at the expense of the child.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam @writewrds

We tried really hard to avoid gender stereotypes with my kids when they were young. We bought my son a doll when he was 8 months old - he's favorite thing to do with it was poke it in the eye and bang it's head on the floor, hi chair whatever. When his younger sister received a doll at about the same age, she hugged it and snuggled. Did my husband and I do something to force these gender stereotypes? Maybe. But I don't think so. I believe some things are just innate.

Appreciating your child for who they are is wonderful and I applaude these parents for their attempt to do that. But I agree with KrissyFair, it does appear that the parents are pushing the kids toward gender neutrality as opposed to just letting them be and figuring it out on their own. That is troublesome. The reality of life is that we will be judged by our gender, race, weight, height etc. I am not so sure that forcing neutrality upon our children prepares them for this reality. While I want my kids to be judged for who they are on the inside, I want them to be able to handle it when they are not.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Melissa:

My thoughts on the age of gender-awareness came from what I've heard about people who eventually identified as transgender. Most of the accounts I have heard or read said that they began feeling uncomfortable with their assigned gender at around that age.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Pam:

I would like to give them credit for having chosen to do this for their child and not just as a social statement. However, all the media attention it is getting is turning it into more of a social statement.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I did the same as Kate. Bought my first-born a purse for his blocks, when he was still in diapers. When my boys were preschoolers -- one and up -- there were plenty of traditionally "girl" toys and playthings around, including a kitchen, a doll house, a wide variety of costumes.. Didn't make a difference. They still crashed, banged, poked and jumped from the get-go.
Gender neutrality can't be imposed.
Parents have enormous control in shaping the lives of young children. They model behavior and teach, by example, how to function and feel good in life and in society. I just hope these kids are getting the guidance and life experience they need to thrive.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam @writewrds

Good point.
For some reason, when I read the article, I guess I felt a twinge of concern for the kids. Considering that clothing for preteens is sexualized and gender-based pressures and stereotypes start so early, I understand the parents' intent and its merit.
Perhaps the part of the story that talks about the older sibilings had me wondering whether this option is freeing at all.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam @writewrds

I find it interesting (troubling, in fact) that we worry about these parents' experiment more than about the generalized social experiment of gendering our kids from the day they are born.
It came as a shock to me, when my son was born, how early he was put in a strict male box by everybody around us. I do not quite raise him in a gender neutral way, but I very much hope to offer him big open doors for whatever he wants to become, genderwise or otherwise.

Another troubling thing I learned that I had no idea about was what the gender-assumptions people make can be based on. My son was often mistaken for a girl during his first year of life, despite being above the 100th percentile for boys and never being dressed in a 'girly' way. Why? I came to the conclusion that his having very long and thick hair and, mostly, looking Asian triggered these assumptions. People are used to the girls-with-long-hair/boys-with-short-hair dichotomy, as well as to adopted Asian girls with Caucasian parents. (My son wasn't adopted but that's the assumption that was generally made.)

I find it interesting that in our culture we seem to feel that someone else's gender is information that belongs to the public. There was an episode on the TV show Bones where one of the characters was a part of a Japanese sub-culture that lived androgynously. At least half of the episode was filled with the other characters' attempts to identify this person's gender. For some reason, not being able to put that label in particular on others really *seems* wrong to a lot of people.

Something else that I find interesting is that in discussions of race, you will hear so many caucasians say, "I don't see others' color." On the other hand, with gender it's something that so many people want to know before they can even see the baby!

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

I remember all too well what it was like growing up as a very masculine girl in the 1980s. As far as I was concerned, pink was a stupid colour and playing with dolls consisted of borrowing them from my older sister when I needed some cargo for my tonka dump trucks. I loved collecting snakes and caterpillars, getting stuck in the mud, play wrestling with my friends (all male), and just generally behaving in ways that are coded as "masculine" in our culture. (I remember trying to emulate one of my playmates by experimenting with peeing standing up ... the results were messy)

I can clearly remember being six years old and one of my mother's friends stopping and saying, "My goodness, I didn't realize you had a son!" (I had very short hair and would only wear dark red, brown and blue clothes.) That experience has had a lasting impact on me. It made me angry at the time (it started a tantrum then) and still does (now I communicate my displeasure in blog comments and in my conversations with others).

I don't know if I fully agree with what the parents in Toronto are doing with baby Storm, but I do know that they have hit a real nerve. I know I want to see a world where gender-typing is a non-issue for our children; maybe if people were more open-minded, parents would not have to take such extreme steps to let children have some choice over their gendering (or lack thereof).

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlaura

This gets me thinking about something my oldest daughter said to one of my son's friends the other day. She asked the friend about how embarrassing it would be if all my son's friends at school knew he used to sleep with a doll. I quickly told her that #1 it isn't something to be embarrassed about, and #2 that it's not nice to deliberately say things to embarrass someone else.

I've tried to keep things reasonably gender neutral, and it can be a challenge. My son has always adored blue, then again so does my youngest daughter. My oldest didn't care about boy vs girl toys until she ran into it in preschool then wow, the change!

My kids defy a lot of the stereotypes, in that I have two loud, vocal, adventurous daughters, and a son who is so quiet that I really identify with him, as that was me as a kid too. It's not perfect by any means, but they get a lot of freedom to express their own interests and personalities.

I feel that it's one thing to keep the baby's sex private, and another to keep it secret. I'm not convinced that the secrecy is a healthy thing for the family. I also agree with many of the commenters above- it's unlikely the secret will be kept until Storm's 1st birthday, and a baby doesn't yet have a gender. So I'm not quite sure if their attempts to shield Storm from societal gender messages will be anything but futile in the end. It seems to me that the media attention is focusing the story on the "sex mystery" (and portraying the family as fringe extremists).

I do long for the days of my childhood, when a significant number of toys were made and marketed for kids and not "boys" or "girls". When boys and girls alike had bowl cuts and jumpers and clothing wasn't divided by the color wheel.

So yes, in the face of all the messages and signs we send today, I can understand why the parents want to shield their children. My 3 are all a bit older than this family's, but very close in age (I'd say mine, similarly spaced, are about 1-1.5y older), and it's interesting to watch how their preferences change and ideas form. I can't say I've made a concerted effort to raise my kids gender neutral, but that's more or less my goal- in reality, we avoid toys we don't want them having (limit plastic- we do have a few things, such as Legos; limited character toys; etc). They do have dolls, playsilks, blocks, trains, puzzles, etc. Much of their clothing is solid colors. That sort of thing.

I started hearing the "dolls/pink are for girls" shortly after my eldest turned 5. We've had many conversations about it, as well as challenging his assumptions that boys or girls are better at one thing or another. We talk about broad differences between the sexes and the races, and how individual differences are greater than group differences. We talk about how people can be mean and say hurtful things, and how to handle that. We analyze advertising messages to understand what's being "sold" and if we want to "buy" it.

The truth is, people will make assumptions about our kids including and beyond gender. And I can't help but wonder- is gender truly the defining part of who we are? My kids are multiracial, and if I'm out with all 3, invariably the first question is if the baby is a boy or girl (and upon hearing he is a boy, there's a script of stock replies beginning with "You must have your hands full!" and ending with "So are you going to try for a girl?". Apparently nobody thought to give me the manual on how society reacts once you have 3+ same sex kids.). If I'm out with only the baby, the first question is typically race related.

My point is, we are all labeled and judged by society, and I'm not sure that focusing solely on gender will prepare our kids to discover, accept, and love who they are regardless of the the messages they receive about their sex, gender, race, appearance, personality, or intelligence level.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I feel that it's one thing to keep the baby's sex private, and another to keep it secret. I'm not convinced that the secrecy is a healthy thing for the family. I also agree with many of the commenters above- it's unlikely the secret will be kept until Storm's 1st birthday, and a baby doesn't yet have a gender. So I'm not quite sure if their attempts to shield Storm from societal gender messages will be anything but futile in the end. It seems to me that the media attention is focusing the story on the "sex mystery" (and portraying the family as fringe extremists).

I do long for the days of my childhood, when a significant number of toys were made and marketed for kids and not "boys" or "girls". When boys and girls alike had bowl cuts and jumpers and clothing wasn't divided by the color wheel.

So yes, in the face of all the messages and signs we send today, I can understand why the parents want to shield their children. My 3 are all a bit older than this family's, but very close in age (I'd say mine, similarly spaced, are about 1-1.5y older), and it's interesting to watch how their preferences change and ideas form. I can't say I've made a concerted effort to raise my kids gender neutral, but that's more or less my goal- in reality, we avoid toys we don't want them having (limit plastic- we do have a few things, such as Legos; limited character toys; etc). They do have dolls, playsilks, blocks, trains, puzzles, etc. Much of their clothing is solid colors. That sort of thing.

I started hearing the "dolls/pink are for girls" shortly after my eldest turned 5. We've had many conversations about it, as well as challenging his assumptions that boys or girls are better at one thing or another. We talk about broad differences between the sexes and the races, and how individual differences are greater than group differences. We talk about how people can be mean and say hurtful things, and how to handle that. We analyze advertising messages to understand what's being "sold" and if we want to "buy" it.

The truth is, people will make assumptions about our kids including and beyond gender. And I can't help but wonder- is gender truly the defining part of who we are? My kids are multiracial, and if I'm out with all 3, invariably the first question is if the baby is a boy or girl (and upon hearing he is a boy, there's a script of stock replies beginning with "You must have your hands full!" and ending with "So are you going to try for a girl?". Apparently nobody thought to give me the manual on how society reacts once you have 3+ same sex kids.). If I'm out with only the baby, the first question is typically race related.

My point is, we are all labeled and judged by society, and I'm not sure that focusing solely on gender will prepare our kids to discover, accept, and love who they are regardless of the the messages they receive about their sex, gender, race, ability, appearance, personality, or intelligence level.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Rats, double posted.. you can delete this one above. Sorry.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I actually find the concept a bit disturbing--not so much in terms of the baby (who probably doesn't care either way!), but in terms of the message it delivers to the older siblings (and arguably the child later on, looking back on his own youth). I'm all for avoiding gender stereotypes; I've worked hard to give my son opportunities to explore all aspects of his little personality (which often meant leaving the buying of trucks to extended family, while we provided play food and dolls/softies). However, I don't think that gender freedom means lack of gender. My son is a boy, and I want him to feel comfortable with that, proud of it even--I just also want him to be comfortable defining for himself what it means to be a man, and to respect other people's rights to the same comfort and freedom. Gender is part of who he is, and I want him to feel good about his; if he happens to like trucks, that's every bit as OK as if he likes dolls. I think that hiding gender could deliver the message that this is something to be overcome or embarrassed about; a new-age version of "no, you may not run around in the yard naked, someone might see your private parts!!!" I guess I wonder whether they're providing freedom, or just pushing androgyny?

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIsabelle

Exactly. When my daughter was little I dressed her in gender neutral clothes, and didn't correct people when they called her "he". She had "boy" toys as well as "girl" toys. She even has a gender neutral name. She's now 9 years old and as girly as can be. Should I deny her all the girly things she loves because I don't prefer it? No way! She's free to be who SHE chooses.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah M.

It's a really interesting question. On the one hand I don't think that anyone should be forced to reveal the sex of their child, and I have no thoughts on what this couple has done. On the other hand, I think that I would be kind of ticked off if, say, my sister refused to reveal the sex of her baby to me.

That hypothetical family reaction is interesting to me, and I feel conflicted. I do think that being gender neutral is important, insofar as we're not imposing ourselves on our children. But on the other hand, if I think about not knowing whether I have a new niece or a new nephew, it feels about the same as not knowing the child's name. I don't relate to the child as well. So clearly, I consider this important information, and I probably carry a whole lot of baggage surrounding children and gender.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Like you, I don't think that this will likely make a huge difference to the child in the long run. I also think it's the parents' decision to make, and more power to them. But on a personal level, it seems like I want to know whether the babies in my family have male or female genitals.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

This is an interesting point.

My impression reading the article was that in fact, even if Jazz identifies as a boy, he seems to like a lot of genderfied girl things -- long hair, painted nails, purple and pink, etc. He's also old enough for that to cause comments, and old enough to be hurt by them. Maybe all the parental commentary is helping him work through that, and giving him the strength to continue the activities he likes. Heck, maybe he's trans. I guess I read much more than the parents weren't forcing him to try/like girl things, but that he happens to like girl things, and luckily the parents are supportive and can talk to him about it.

My other thought was that commentary is not necessarily a bad thing. It reminded me of a study or article I've read (in the NYTimes, maybe? I can't find it) showing how raising kids to be "colorblind" (i.e. not mentioning racial differences because you don't want it to be perceived as a problem) backfires in a big way. Kids see skin color differences, and in families where those differences weren't talked about explicitly, children more often assumed that being of a different race was a bad thing. And why wouldn't they? If something is quietly ignored and not mentioned, it's usually because it's bad.

I think the commentary is one way to break past that. If Storm's family wants to raise their kids to be appreciative and understanding of gender blending, and even to try out oppositely-genderized activities and ideas, then they must need a LOT of commentary and encouragement. Otherwise, it would be all too easy to fall into the gender binary that is so prevalent.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

FYI, the mother of baby Storm wrote a letter that was published in the Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/998960--genderless-baby-s-mother-responds-to-media-furor

May 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I read this in the Citizen this morning. I applaud her and the integrity of her public response. And I'm ashamed of my reaction to the initial story. I value difference, tolerance and kindness, but was very quick to judge. In news reports, facts are filtered (and often distorted) through the understanding/subjectivity of the reporter.
There's a good lesson in this, for me, to give the benefit of the doubt and to spend more time wondering, asking and listening to others.

May 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam @writewrds

I came on here to say something similar to this comment "If no one should care about your gender, then why is it a secret?"

To me, the gender-blindness urge seems remarkably similar to the 'race-blindness' we're moving away from these days. I don't think no one should care about gender. I think we should celebrate all of our differences, in all their diversity.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Here is a guest post on @NorthTOMom's blog from a father who followed this approach in the 1990s: http://northtomom.blogspot.com/2011/06/todays-guest-blogger-prabhakar-ragde-is.html?spref=tw

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I think that what is weird, is how much people care that the parents wanted to keep it a secret. I agree that which sex organs the child has is no one else's business. Let's keep in mind that sex and gender are in fact two different things. Sex has to do with biological organs a person has. Gender is a social construct. What the parents were keeping a secret is the child's sex. The fact that people are so bothered by this really speaks to how strong the cultural construct of gender is to us.

October 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercassie

I agree that it is two different things. The child's sex is not a secret. The family knows. I'm sure those close to them know. The parents just refused to make a public declaration of the child's sex - what's strange here is that it matters to the rest of us.

October 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercassie

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