No longer “Free to be…you and me”

Been thinking more about how regressive things are today, with kids being pigeonholed into boy/girl slots as toddlers, and teens feeling like they have to claim some gender identity to be real…to be themselves. I can’t count the number of blogs I’ve read where teens are asking and re-asking the “experts” (usually other teens or people in their 20s) what gender identity they get to be.

The author of the blog linked above was a lucky girl, like me. But you know what? Parents like mine (and hers) weren’t that rare. All the kids–boys and girls–in my neighborhood just played.  Nobody was concerned about “gender identity”  (or any other identity, for that matter) because it was totally irrelevant to the experience of being a child.

From childhood, my parents told me and my two sisters that we could be “anything you set your mind to.”  I played with Barbies AND trucks. I had make-believe tea parties, AND I climbed trees and pretended to be a (male) train conductor.  I played dress-up with one of my male friends, and whiffle ball with the other rough-and-tumble girls in the neighborhood. As a tomboy, I spent a lot more time with boys than girls. I didn’t see myself as separate or different from the boys–or the girls. It wasn’t pertinent. We all just were. 

When my sisters and I got to be teens, our parents would object if we put ourselves in physical danger (drugs, alcohol, abusive partners, things like that) but apart from that, the message was:  get out there in the world and show ‘em what you got as a strong woman. And we all did just that.

What are some parents teaching their little girls today? That if they step over the brightly repainted gender lines (I say repainted, because in my day, those lines had begun to fade nicely) and start saying they are actually boys, it’s time to book that appointment with a “therapist” who will monitor them throughout their childhoods for a diagnosis.  These kids are having their childhoods stolen from them. The best thing for growing brains and bodies is to leave them alone, not slap a DSM code on them. (As an aside, I’ve had the same reaction to the over-diagnosing of kids with ADHD. How is it pathology for a  6-or-7-year-old child to want to move around and not sit in a damn chair for seven hours in first grade?)

The trans activists will protest that allowing kids to self-identify as whatever gender they choose IS leaving them alone. If that’s all it was–if that’s where it stopped–it would be ok. But as soon as a kid picks an identity, the question arises:  does that identity “match” the body they are (not even that they “have”–we ARE our bodies)–and the pressure is on.

1 thought on “No longer “Free to be…you and me”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s