Raising a child is hard enough, but for lesbian parents Michelle and Dashiell, there’s an added challenge of raising a young boy to be gender non-conforming. BuzzFeed presented the struggle recently in a viral video entitled “I Am a Gender Non-Conforming Parent.”
“My understanding about gender is that ultimately it doesn’t mean anything,” Michelle proudly stated, yet throughout the 5-minute long video she kept making references to gender.
“I’m constantly like trying to queer my relationship with him and get him to wear tutus. He hates it. He’s just like, ‘no,’” she said, essentially admitting that she’s trying to force him to be a gender he’s not wanting to be.
She expressed surprise that her toddler son Atticus seemed to be born with a love for sports and she feels like society has already made him think like there’s a difference between boys and girls. Interestingly, throughout the conversation, she continued to refer to her child as a “he” rather than using a gender neutral pronoun.
“He has this great book that’s like, just pictures and words,” Michelle said. “But when you open it up, it’s like, a picture of a girl and a picture of a boy, and it’s like, ‘Girl,’ ‘Boy,’ and I’m just like, ‘Child,’ ‘Child.’”
Interestingly enough, Michelle just admitted that she saw certain characters in the book as being a “girl” or a “boy” yet insisted her kid not do the same thing.
Deeply bothered by her battle with her son, she expressed to the camera, “This is where he starts learning what things are. And so I hate the idea that he’s getting it imprinted on him that people who look like this are boys and people who look like that are girls. And even something that’s like progressive like ‘Sesame Street’ — all the monsters are boys unless they have like a bow in their hair or a sparkly necklace on. Like, why is ‘Old McDonald’ a guy? Why couldn’t it be a lesbian farmer?”
Dashiell also expressed surprise at how much society is structured around gender, even though it always has been.
“It’s everywhere,” she exclaimed. “It is. It’s everywhere. I think those are things we are probably more aware of that most people anyway. But with him, we’re probably really sensitive to it. Sometimes, the best thing to do feels to be constantly challenging, and sometimes, it’s almost to ignore gender completely.”
They concluded by encouraging every parent to raise their children to not conform to any gender at a young age, yet they still insisted that they will let Atticus choose, on his own, what gender — out of many — he wants to be.
Even though gender, they insist, doesn’t mean anything. Their world is a very confusing one. You can watch the full video below (Parental warning: One crude gesture).
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