October 15, 2018

This Toddler Will Get to Pick Their Own Gender

“Naya is an almost-3-year-old I met recently who, in the course of an afternoon, wondered the following things: Why does the blue marble look green when viewed through yellow plastic? How is cheese made? Do things always fall down when you drop them, or do they sometimes fall up?

Spending time with an almost-3-year-old is an excellent way to realize how hard it is to deconstruct concepts that adults take for granted.

What does it mean to be a girl? for example. What does it mean to be a boy?

When I first met Naya, I didn’t know what gender Naya was. And neither did Naya’s parents. They knew what was on Naya’s birth certificate, of course. But as for what was in Naya’s brain? They were waiting for Naya to tell them.

All good parents want their kids to be happy. A lot of good parents now are having conversations about how gender and expectations fit into that. How do you raise girls to be tough and boys to be sensitive? Or, how do you raise girls and boys to be whatever they truly are — not just what they’ve absorbed from centuries of culture telling girls to be dainty and boys not to cry?”

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