Two parents in Toronto have decided to not inform society at large the gender of their third child. For some reason this has “society” in a tither. Before I launch into what will surely wind up sounding like a rant it is absolutely vital to discuss the terms involved.
A person’s gender role is merely something attributed to someone socially, a set of “norms” as to how people of a certain gender act, etc. [This is paraphrased from Wikipedia.] A person’s gender identity is something that is internalized and considered separate from sexual orientation. Depending upon where you’re looking you might see that this is considered separate from the biological assignment of gender, but of course all this rests upon societal definitions of gender and how we perceive healthy individuals submit to typical categorizations of the same. That kind of throws a bit of a wrench into this one with what boils down to something that appears to be circular logic.
Now, let’s get to the story, shall we? The parents are raising their kid in an environment where gender is not pandered to. That’s it. There is no mention about how the parents won’t have the anatomy conversation with their child (who happens to have two older brothers). None. I looked. And, let’s face it, any parent knows about the inevitable conversations that goes something like this (at eleven seconds in or so):
Some people may think gender roles are no big deal. There was a time in society where they were everything. Ask the suffragettes about gender. Or perhaps those involved in getting women more accepted and to get equal pay for equal work. It mattered. Why? It was a category that had been established as inferior. This notion, this social norm was fought tooth and nail and now many people are righteously stating how this kid being raised in a manner that encourages wholesome ego development over enculturation is wrong, ignorant, screwed up. [Enculturation is a means of assimilating, of taking on traditional values and practices of a culture.]
While I have concerns for any individual who is abundantly different in a society which only accepts certain differences the reasons those concerns exist is NOT because of the outlier, the exceptional child. The concern exists because of the intolerance of the different that is socially acceptable. If each of us wants to encourage acceptance, TRUE acceptance, then categories can not be the rule nor can we be looking to force our notions of “right” upon others.