gender creative.

I was really flabberghasted to read the story about the 4 year old Albertan child being ordered by two judges not to wear so-called girl’s clothes in public. There are clear problems of transmisogyny, of gender stereotyping and misogyny here.  But even if you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about those issues, you’d still wonder, « Hey, what year is this?! And why do grown ass men care so much about how kids dress? »
I for one am stumped.
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When my kid started out at a new daycare, I spoke to his main provider about him being gender creative. I gave examples. I said we made an effort, in our home, not to needlessly qualify with « girl » or « boy » when we mean « child, » because it’s limiting (i.e. « those are big boy scissors! » implies that both male babies and girls shouldn’t be handling the scissors. The sentence is inexact and sends the wrong message.) I said in daycare, that might mean not telling boys and girls to line up in separate lines. I probably didn’t communicate this example very clearly because I was asked if I wanted them to let him choose his line up when they do this or if I wanted them to correct him if he went in the girl’s line. (And I know now that they asked me because other parents have insisted that they « correct » their child when they go to the « wrong » line).
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It made me wonder what would happen if I asked the daycare providers to force my left-handed child to use his right hand instead of his left when they do group crafts or play instruments. Being left handed, much like being gender creative, is a bit of a hassle in this world. Needing different sets of scissors or a differently strung guitar, much like having to have redundant conversations about his sex with complete strangers and well-meaning relatives, is just not that much fun (I dread these conversations, actually. For the record).
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Just the other day, I saw a pair of discounted speciality scissors, the kind that cut in zigzags and I bought them, eager to have good fun with my kid, remembering how much I loved these when I was younger. I totally forgot that it would be near impossible for my child to use them without getting hella frustrated, as they’re totally meant for righties.
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Despite the fact that it’d be easier if all of the children learned to use right handed scissors, I doubt a child care centre would force a left handed child to use his right hand even if the parents asked them to. How long did that shift take, I wonder–between feeling it was a-okay to whack a child using their left hand and teachers refusing to force kids to use their right?
How long will this shift take?
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In the meantime, pray tell, are these yellow trousers, ‘boy’ enough?
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(A big high five and tearful hug to all the adults out there being stellar advocates for kids. It may not always be make or break, but I feel learning at a young age that people can change systems, that some rules shouldn’t be followed, and that some people will have your back when it matters, that is priceless).
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