For any and all parents

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Bodies, Damned binaries, Gender, Relationships
Tags: , , , , , ,

Anybody raising a child has to be cognisant of the fact that there is a very real possibility that that child could be non-cis. Anyone, anywhere, anytime. Sadly, all too many don’t. This is vital. Anyone who comes into contact with children or intends to do so (or doesn’t) needs to read that post. Children are incredibly vulnerable to subtle signals, and the signals sent out by most parents about gender mess most kids up. Non-cis children suffer the most, but even though it is their existence being privileged, cis children suffer through being constrained, not being allowed to explore – and childhood is a time when nothing is certain, nothing should be written in stone.

I was raised in a manner consistent with a non-normative person of my assigned gender. It was never acknowledged that I could be anything else. It still isn’t, actually, even though I’ve been out to my parents for a while now. The messages I got were more positive than some – for example, it was made exceptionally clear to me that me turning out to be homosexual would be embraced by my family. But turning out not to be cis? Never even thought of. Mind you, I’m really not sure my parents knew anything about trans people before I came out.

I’d love to send Dreki’s post to my parents. Unfortunately, most privileged people don’t react well to having their privilege called out, even though as Dreki says parents are the ones that need to have their problematic attitudes called out the most. They hold the well-being of our next generation in their hands, after all, and we’d really rather they didn’t mess any more of us up. Which is why I content myself by posting the link and hoping that someone else’s parents or prospective parents read it, and save another child from misery.

This isn’t a licence to go over to Dreki’s space and spout cissupremacist bullshit. Nothing gives you a right to do that. I doubt that most people who read this blog are inclined to do so, but this is the internet. If you don’t like, your first thought should not be to attack. If you feel put on the defensive over it, close the window and have a cup of tea or a nap, then think about it some more. Don’t react in a stew of defensiveness, because you will regret it; if you go on the defensive, you’re almost certainly not thinking about it. Cissupremacy hurts all of us, and it starts with children. It hurts them and warps them into hatred. No-one should want that for anyone. In the long run, acknowledging that some children will turn out non-cis will do everyone good.

Eventually I would love to see a world in which children are never assigned a gender, where they feel free to explore and to find their own gender/s or lack of in their own time. Until then, we will have to work towards it by emphasising that cisness is not the only option.


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