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Parenting "Genderless" Kids

By HERWriter Blogger
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Most people have grown up with the saying "boys will be boys", or have heard "you're such a girl" at one time or another. But have people been hurt by the sometimes strict and rigid gender roles that can be imposed on children?

Some parents say yes and they are doing something about it.

For the past five years, UK residents Beck Laxton, 46, and partner Kieran Cooper, 44, have been concealing the gender of their son, Sasha. They recently revealed his gender to the public only because Sasha will be starting school this Fall.

Other than a handful of people, no one has known Sasha's real gender as his parents have allowed him to dress in whatever clothes he likes, and play with both typically girl and boy toys.

Sasha is the youngest of three children, but is the first for Laxton. The other two kids are from her partner's previous relationship. Sasha wears hand-me downs from both his sister and brother and is not restricted from any type of clothing other then ultra-masculine clothes like combat boots or things with skulls on them.

When interviewed by the Cambride News, Laxton said that she decided to not reveal her son's gender because she wanted to avoid stereotyping. She explained, "Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?"

This open-minded way of thinking does have its opposition. Some experts think this type of parenting will set the child up for bullying later on in life.

"To have a sense of self and personal identity is a critical part of normal healthy development," Dr. Eugene Beresin, director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, told ABCNews when interviewed about a "genderless" baby being raised in Canada.

Beresin continued,"This blocks that and sets the child up for bullying, scapegoating and marginalization.

Add a Comment2 Comments

HERWriter Blogger

Great points! I agree wholeheartedly!

February 8, 2012 - 7:26pm

I took a women's studies class in college and one of our readings was a true story about the child called "X" or something to that effect. It was much like this family, the child grew up dressed in gender neutral clothing, participating in activities traditional for both boys and girls.

While I find it interesting and understand the reasoning I cannot imagine raising my son with no gender. As long as there is open conversation about gender-specific roles, and viewing them loosely rather than rigidly as society and media portrays.

I am comfortable with my son understanding gender as a part of who he is, and embracing it. While also understanding that the girl can rescue the boy, and boys can grow up to be nurses. We all have feminine and masculine traits, it's not just one or the other.

January 25, 2012 - 10:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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