Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gender

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Belial » Wed May 25, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

I dunno. If you surround yourself with a circle of people who totally get what you're doing, and support it, and aren't weird about it, and make those people your child's "village" as it were, then slight weirdness from random strangers or vague acquaintances probably isn't that big a deal.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Elvish Pillager » Wed May 25, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

Either that, or you manage to find a community of other adults who don't mistreat children, and don't feel entitled to be trusted with private information about their acquaintances' children.

But we can't expect anyone to do THAT, now can we? :roll:

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Роберт » Wed May 25, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

I actually liked the name they picked, TBH.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Wed May 25, 2011 3:35 pm UTC

big boss wrote:Except for the minor fact that a toddler doesn't have the mental capacity to choose for themselves... Hell many people much older and wiser than a toddler can't even figure it out.

So instead parents should choose for them? Because I guarantee you that the parents are even less able to figure it out.

big boss wrote:Gender is ingrained in us genetically and pretending like we are blank slates is not going to help anyone because we simply are not blank slates (at least the majority of humanity is not).

You really need to stop making stupid assumptions about gender.

You also need to stop trying to imply that letting a child choose for themselves is more "forcing" than having the parents choose for them, because that's a load of crap.


RockoTDF wrote:Why do the parents need to go as far as to ignore gender? Why can't they just let the kids do what they want, and tell them "it's ok for boys to wear dresses and girls to roll in the mud?" (etc, etc)

Because that still implants the stereotype that boys don't normally wear dresses, girls don't normally roll in the mud, and that the child necessarily falls into a specific category.

RockoTDF wrote:It seems to me like going as far as they have is adding a layer of *potential* future problems and *potential* ridicule with no extra benefits to the children.

As someone who happens to be trans, there are most certainly benefits.

RockoTDF wrote:If the behaviors/roles associated with gender wither away, doesn't gender itself disappear?

No.
Last edited by Aaeriele on Wed May 25, 2011 3:40 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby greengiant » Wed May 25, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

The thing that struck me about how few people knew the sex is how few people can look after the baby. You can't really leave the baby with anyone who you want to keep in the dark; as soon as they change the baby they'll know the sex since the parents explicitly said there are unambiguous genitals. This probably leaves the parents with only one person who can look after their child.

My first thought was that this makes life hard for the parents and puts a lot of strain on them. My second thought was to wonder what effect never being away from the parents will have on the child (just thinking out loud - I have no knowledge of what effect this has on a child, feel free to enlighten me).

It certainly shows how dedicated they are to doing this. Giving up the option of grandparents/friends/childminders looking after your infant is a pretty big deal.

And to be clear, I'm in no way condemning what they're trying to do. Again, I'll be interested to read what happens.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Thirty-one » Wed May 25, 2011 3:42 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:I actually liked the name they picked, TBH.


I'd struggle to talk to their child without the bass line from Tim Minchin's "Storm" playing in the background of my mind.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Elvish Pillager » Wed May 25, 2011 4:17 pm UTC

Personally, I'd love to be named Storm, but I would hate to be associated with that performance. :x
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Wed May 25, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

I thought of the X-man(woman) first. So that's pretty cool.

This is an unusual way of doing things but the kid can't even talk yet. When they start toddling and thinking I imagine the game plan will change. This just seems like a good way to get rid of early gender programming.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Wed May 25, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:I just can't help but think that they're actually alienating their child from other adults though. Specifically not telling them the sex of the kid basically states to other adults that the parents don't trust you and that you should stay away from this child because you're going to be the reason they end up being unhappy with having a certain biology.

Just think about the people you can't really tell if they're male or female. Sadly, the majority of people are kind of freaked out by that - I am too because I want to know. Perhaps, honestly so I know how to interact with them. And yes, this is the whole point of not telling the baby's gender, but it just alienates a lot of people. You focus that discomfort onto a baby and I think that would feel like deliberately ostracizing your baby.


I think your first point is a fair one: the parents may be putting some kind of paranoia into their children, or setting up an expectation that others will make them feel unhappy.

The second point is something that I hope society outgrows, and largely a point of why the parents are doing this, I think.

Aaeriele wrote:
big boss wrote:Gender is ingrained in us genetically and pretending like we are blank slates is not going to help anyone because we simply are not blank slates (at least the majority of humanity is not).

You really need to stop making stupid assumptions about gender.


Assuming that gender is a purely social construct is just as ignorant as assuming that it is purely biological. This can be said about pretty much any aspect of human behavior. Disentangling the two is a real pain of course, but we are not blank slates. Just because their is a drop of biology in an explanation does not mean that one is predetermined to be *insert whatever you like.* Nor does it justify treating people differently or justify bad parts of human behavior. Explanation does not equal explication.

RockoTDF wrote:Why do the parents need to go as far as to ignore gender? Why can't they just let the kids do what they want, and tell them "it's ok for boys to wear dresses and girls to roll in the mud?" (etc, etc)

Because that still implants the stereotype that boys don't normally wear dresses, girls don't normally roll in the mud, and that the child necessarily falls into a specific category.


And the kids aren't going to be aware of that stereotype? How is saying "you can do what you want" less beneficial than "you can be what you want?"

RockoTDF wrote:It seems to me like going as far as they have is adding a layer of *potential* future problems and *potential* ridicule with no extra benefits to the children.

As someone who happens to be trans, there are most certainly benefits.


Mind explaining? If you are going to persuade anyone of anything that is always a good idea. Why are you assuming that the kids are transgendered when they aren't old enough to really understand what that means?

RockoTDF wrote:If the behaviors/roles associated with gender wither away, doesn't gender itself disappear?

No.


Again, care to elaborate?

Then what is gender if it is not a set of behaviors, customs, etc? Are trousers a masculine thing to wear anymore? Is being a teacher still "women's work?" No. In those areas, gender roles have largely disappeared. If this happened to literally everything, what would be left of gender? Or are you confounding sex and gender in some way that I can't figure out from single word answers?
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Wed May 25, 2011 7:17 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:Assuming that gender is a purely social construct is just as ignorant as assuming that it is purely biological. This can be said about pretty much any aspect of human behavior. Disentangling the two is a real pain of course, but we are not blank slates.

That is not the assumption I wanted you to stop making (note that I did not say that gender is purely a social construct - I don't believe it is, nor do I believe it's purely biological). The assumption that I wanted you to stop making was that having an innate sense of gender required parents to reinforce that sense of gender, or that parents would even be doing that correctly in the first place by treating their child according to their genitals.

RockoTDF wrote:And the kids aren't going to be aware of that stereotype? How is saying "you can do what you want" less beneficial than "you can be what you want?"

There are multiple levels of awareness. There is the "have seen it, know it's a stereotype, whatever" sense which yes, kids are going to be aware of. There's also the deeply ingrained and often subconcious set of stereotypes that are implanted simply through experience. If from the start you are raised to have one set of activities actively presented to you, and another set you are "allowed" to reach for, but you still have to go out of your way to reach for them... you are going to wind up viewing the first set differently than the second.

RockoTDF wrote:Why are you assuming that the kids are transgendered when they aren't old enough to really understand what that means?

Logic does not work that way; "I don't know if A is B" is not the same as "A is not B". "Not assuming a child's gender to be ____" is not the same as "assuming a child's gender to be not-____". The parents are doing the former, you're asking me about the latter.

Children should not be forced to conform; if there is ridicule involved for not conforming then FIX THE PEOPLE WHO ARE RIDICULING.

If a child happens to be trans, the subconscious conditioning from making assumptions about their gender can be really painful and can last far beyond their childhood. If a child doesn't happen to be trans, then they're still free to develop their gender as the one that people would "expect" from their genitalia.

Furthermore, studies of gender in children suggest that their sense of gendering people and activities is quite developed by age 4 or so. A child doesn't need to know what "transgender" means to have a gender identity.

RockoTDF wrote:Again, care to elaborate?

Then what is gender if it is not a set of behaviors, customs, etc? Are trousers a masculine thing to wear anymore? Is being a teacher still "women's work?" No. In those areas, gender roles have largely disappeared. If this happened to literally everything, what would be left of gender? Or are you confounding sex and gender in some way that I can't figure out from single word answers?

You are thinking of gender expression. Gender is not merely gender expression. I honestly can't explain better than that to someone who is not trans; unless you have actually felt the feeling of having your innate gender not match your assigned gender, you really won't understand.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby big boss » Wed May 25, 2011 7:21 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
big boss wrote:Except for the minor fact that a toddler doesn't have the mental capacity to choose for themselves... Hell many people much older and wiser than a toddler can't even figure it out.

So instead parents should choose for them? Because I guarantee you that the parents are even less able to figure it out.


I didn't say that, to me both methods have drawbacks and neither is perfect, I don't have any suggestions on what would be a better method.

Aaeriele wrote:
big boss wrote:Gender is ingrained in us genetically and pretending like we are blank slates is not going to help anyone because we simply are not blank slates (at least the majority of humanity is not).

You really need to stop making stupid assumptions about gender.

You also need to stop trying to imply that letting a child choose for themselves is more "forcing" than having the parents choose for them, because that's a load of crap.



I'm not saying that gender is purely genetic (i guess i should have originally said that...), but it seems like many individuals are making the exact opposite assumption that your claiming I make; ignoring that gender is partly genetic and that there are innate differences between males and females (we aren't blank slates, our genetics have given us certain characteristics) and that societal norms developed around these characteristics (e.g. males are on average physically stronger and physically larger etc).
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Wed May 25, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

big boss wrote:ignoring that gender is partly genetic and that there are innate differences between males and females (we aren't blank slates, our genetics have given us certain characteristics) and that societal norms developed around these characteristics (e.g. males are on average physically stronger and physically larger etc).


The variation within "males" and "females" is far larger than the difference in the means. It is certainly an explanation for societal norms, but it is not a justification, nor is it a reason that enforcing them would be beneficial.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby setzer777 » Wed May 25, 2011 8:43 pm UTC

Yeah, if gender is to some extent biological, in what specific ways do you think parents should be treating boys and girls differently?
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Monika » Wed May 25, 2011 9:09 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:Or how about just not naming them? Yeah, naming the kid was a bad choice on their part. The kid should be able to pick his/her name.

I know of two sets of (American *) parents who did just that.

__

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Soralin » Wed May 25, 2011 10:14 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Just think about the people you can't really tell if they're male or female. Sadly, the majority of people are kind of freaked out by that - I am too because I want to know. Perhaps, honestly so I know how to interact with them. And yes, this is the whole point of not telling the baby's gender, but it just alienates a lot of people. You focus that discomfort onto a baby and I think that would feel like deliberately ostracizing your baby.

Considering that you're interacting with people on an internet forum, I should think you'd be used to interacting with people who's gender you don't know, because you're doing it right now. :)

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed May 25, 2011 10:19 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Wodashin wrote:Or how about just not naming them? Yeah, naming the kid was a bad choice on their part. The kid should be able to pick his/her name.

I know of two sets of (American *) parents who did just that.

__

(* German laws prohibit this.)

Even then, you could give them the option to choose their own name later. But yeah, it's certainly not unheard of and seems to work out well enough.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed May 25, 2011 10:44 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:
Monika wrote:
Wodashin wrote:Or how about just not naming them? Yeah, naming the kid was a bad choice on their part. The kid should be able to pick his/her name.

I know of two sets of (American *) parents who did just that.

__

(* German laws prohibit this.)

Even then, you could give them the option to choose their own name later. But yeah, it's certainly not unheard of and seems to work out well enough.


I don't understand how that is an example of not naming your child working out. They delayed naming her, and later gave her the option to change it, but she still lived a few years with a name and was asked if she wanted to change it instead of picking her own name.

edit--I would just like to add that while I normally dislike names taken from "normal" words, storm is on the good name end of that spectrum.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Wodashin » Wed May 25, 2011 11:10 pm UTC

Yeah, that doesn't really count. They tainted it by giving her a non-filler name.

Aren't they boxing the kid in by raising it with English? Language shapes you. It's pretty much been proven that the way different languages work affect you psychologically. They may not be boxing them in gender wise, but they are linguistically.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby podbaydoor » Wed May 25, 2011 11:11 pm UTC

People don't expect English-speakers to wear tutus and punish them for not wearing tutus. (for a simplified example)
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Wed May 25, 2011 11:13 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:Aren't they boxing the kid in by raising it with English? Language shapes you. It's pretty much been proven that the way different languages work affect you psychologically. They may not be boxing them in gender wise, but they are linguistically.


It's impossible to not box your child in some. That doesn't mean that there isn't use in boxing your child in less.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Wodashin » Wed May 25, 2011 11:21 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
Wodashin wrote:Aren't they boxing the kid in by raising it with English? Language shapes you. It's pretty much been proven that the way different languages work affect you psychologically. They may not be boxing them in gender wise, but they are linguistically.


It's impossible to not box your child in some. That doesn't mean that there isn't use in boxing your child in less.


But what they're trying to do is to get other people's influences down to a minimum so that the child can develop 'purely' or what have you. So, the best plan would be to leave the baby in a room and feed it through a hold in the wall, with zero human interaction.

For example, what if, because of these parents, what might have been a bigoted racist now becomes an open-minded and unique person? If the whole point is to let the child develop its own thoughts and feelings without being boxed in, they're doing a very minimal job of it by picking only one aspect of their psyche to experiment with.

@podbaydoor: Language changes your perceptions is all I'm saying. It affects culture and personality.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed May 25, 2011 11:26 pm UTC

...at which point she chose to keep her name. Which, I mean, point stands. Doesn't seem to have hindered her.
Wodashin wrote:Yeah, that doesn't really count. They tainted it by giving her a non-filler name.

Bullshit. You have to use a noun - if the State Department had accepted it they'd have continued to call her "little girl". You know, like a filler name. All up in your brain and tainting shit.

And... no, I don't believe it has been proven that the way different languages affect you all that much (to an extent, yes, but it's not like English is to Japanese as C is to Scheme, and it's more in how you express your ideas than the ideas you have, except where the language is quite explicitly slanted, like how the masculine is the default plural in Western languages). Languages and cultures do tend to reflect each other, but there's a chicken and egg problem - does the culture reflect the language or vice versa? I mean, kids raised speaking Spanish or Japanese or French in the US are still American. And I'd argue the way that English has been absorbed and twerked by various cultures indicates it's more culture shaping the language. Either way, a dominant language tends to be very much a part of culture - and it's not really possible to raise someone outside of a culture.

Neither of these have any bearing on the discussion at hand, though, so your... arguments or whatever they are, more just unrelated nonsense really... are completely irrelevant. A noun is required (yeah, I know you didn't bring this up). A language - a method of communication - is required. A fixed gender expression... not so much (and the only way to prevent other people trying to force that on a child is to not tell them what's between their legs). There's nothing required about it, and there are very good arguments that there's nothing particularly beneficial about it. Certainly nothing innately so. Hell, gender expression in children is a product of the last 70 years or less. This is Franklin Delano Roosevelt at... well, young:
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Wed May 25, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Assuming that gender is a purely social construct is just as ignorant as assuming that it is purely biological. This can be said about pretty much any aspect of human behavior. Disentangling the two is a real pain of course, but we are not blank slates.

That is not the assumption I wanted you to stop making (note that I did not say that gender is purely a social construct - I don't believe it is, nor do I believe it's purely biological). The assumption that I wanted you to stop making was that having an innate sense of gender required parents to reinforce that sense of gender, or that parents would even be doing that correctly in the first place by treating their child according to their genitals.


I think you are confusing me for someone else who was making a point. You countered that point in a way that led me to think that you bought the blank slate/social construct approach. My apologies if you think I was putting words in your mouth.

RockoTDF wrote:And the kids aren't going to be aware of that stereotype? How is saying "you can do what you want" less beneficial than "you can be what you want?"

There are multiple levels of awareness. There is the "have seen it, know it's a stereotype, whatever" sense which yes, kids are going to be aware of. There's also the deeply ingrained and often subconcious set of stereotypes that are implanted simply through experience. If from the start you are raised to have one set of activities actively presented to you, and another set you are "allowed" to reach for, but you still have to go out of your way to reach for them... you are going to wind up viewing the first set differently than the second.


Fair enough.

RockoTDF wrote:Why are you assuming that the kids are transgendered when they aren't old enough to really understand what that means?

Logic does not work that way; "I don't know if A is B" is not the same as "A is not B". "Not assuming a child's gender to be ____" is not the same as "assuming a child's gender to be not-____". The parents are doing the former, you're asking me about the latter.


Err, that's not what I'm doing, and your logical analysis of what I'm saying is a non sequitor.

Children should not be forced to conform; if there is ridicule involved for not conforming then FIX THE PEOPLE WHO ARE RIDICULING.


In a perfect world, yes. People do need to change, and I think dropping gender roles, heteronormative attitudes, etc is a step in the right direction.

Furthermore, studies of gender in children suggest that their sense of gendering people and activities is quite developed by age 4 or so. A child doesn't need to know what "transgender" means to have a gender identity.


I never said that. I know well that children understand gender at a young age. That isn't the same as understanding the relatively abstract concept of being transgendered. Sex and gender are so confounded in western society that I really don't think kids know the difference between the two (sex and gender) on the abstract level that you and I do.

RockoTDF wrote:Again, care to elaborate?

Then what is gender if it is not a set of behaviors, customs, etc? Are trousers a masculine thing to wear anymore? Is being a teacher still "women's work?" No. In those areas, gender roles have largely disappeared. If this happened to literally everything, what would be left of gender? Or are you confounding sex and gender in some way that I can't figure out from single word answers?

You are thinking of gender expression. Gender is not merely gender expression. I honestly can't explain better than that to someone who is not trans; unless you have actually felt the feeling of having your innate gender not match your assigned gender, you really won't understand.


"You won't really understand" is not a retort in an intellectual discussion that I'll buy, I'm afraid. I still think that if there is no gender expression, there can be no gender. I'll put it to you another way. Other cultures have more than two genders. As a westerner, there is simply no way that I could feel that "I should be the third gender of the ______ tribe/people" when I don't know what that is, because that gender has never been exposed to me, nor do I know how it is expressed. If there is no expression of any genders, how can there be gender at all? On the other hand, people can feel they are the wrong *sex*, which is not the same thing.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Enuja » Wed May 25, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

I think language is a radically important influence, but that doesn't make Wodashin's comment at all convincing. Wodashin, do you object to parents who teach their children two or more languages? No? Then why object when parents don't disclose their child's gender? Different parents will do different things, and while some parents think it's really important to give kids more than one language, other parents think it's really important to remove gender expectations from youngsters. Yes, all of this will affect the child, but how is that an argument that all of this will affect the child badly? Most people would agree that teaching a child multiple languages is an advantage. I think not disclosing sex is another advantage, but people have to try it before we figure out if it's advantage or not. It's physically impossible for parents to give their children all possible advantages (some are mutually exclusive, of course, and many take resources), so how is it an argument against trying to give them one advantage (fewer gender expectations) that you assume they are not getting another advantage (multiple languages)?

And no, these parents are not trying to remove all influences on the child! They are trying to give their children influences that they think are good and remove influences that they think are bad. This parents bought skirts and dresses for their two older boys. That's not removing an influence: that's adding more influences, more choices. Unschooling is not removing an influence: it's trying to influence the kids with pleasant, fulfilling learning experiences. Even not disclosing gender is not removing an influence: it is changing the way our gendered culture influences this kid.


RockoTDF, I don't think that this thread is the ideal place to talk about existence or nature of gender identity.
Last edited by Enuja on Wed May 25, 2011 11:45 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Wodashin » Wed May 25, 2011 11:44 pm UTC

I don't really object, I'm just posing questions. I can't really grasp the implications of this. We'd have to wait and see how things turn out to really know, and even then we'd only know the effect it had on two children.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby fr00t » Thu May 26, 2011 12:07 am UTC

At first I thought "good for them".

Please can you just let Storm discover for him/herself what s (he) wants to be?!.


Thinking about this quote, however, made me reconsider the wisdom of their decision. The problem is that "what he/she wants" in this case is meaningless. Our values and perceived role in society are socialized traits (and possibly to some extent biological) - a baby can't choose what it wants to be when it hasn't been taught what to want to be yet. More accurately, it will be taught what to be through an alternative mechanism - rather than cues provided by parents - the chaos of its' experience and environment.

If it weren't for the specificity of genitals - any other characteristic than gender, really - it would be fine. But at this point, Storm isn't imprinted with socialized characteristics of male or female (and perhaps it is an over simplification to reduce it to a binary thing but I'm fairly sure that's what will happen). If it happens to select the gender that is contrary to it's biological sex, then it's simply in a very disadvantaged position in life.

In short, while I don't disagree with the ideal behind their choice, I think it's irresponsible parenting.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu May 26, 2011 12:20 am UTC

fr00t wrote:a baby can't choose what it wants to be when it hasn't been taught what to want to be yet...If it weren't for the specificity of genitals - any other characteristic than gender, really - it would be fine. But at this point, Storm isn't imprinted with socialized characteristics of male or female (and perhaps it is an over simplification to reduce it to a binary thing but I'm fairly sure that's what will happen). If it happens to select the gender that is contrary to it's biological sex, then it's simply in a very disadvantaged position in life.


#1) Why is there any need to choose as "a baby" anyway? What does it actually affect before approx. puberty?

#2) ...So, your claim is that Storm might, by determining that ze's a gender which doesn't mach zir genitalia, be disadvantaged? Okay, fair enough. Trans individuals are indeed disadvantaged in our society. However, your argument seems to contain the assumption that Storm will "choose" a gender to be, freely/randomly, and then set their internalized gender to that (outwards-in gender identity). If you hold that Storm will determine what zir internalized gender is and then choose to present as such (inwards-out gender identity), then I believe your claim that this is irresponsible parenting is wrong.

My take on it: If Storm's gender doesn't match zir genitalia, then I believe that would have happened regardless. In this case, it can *only be beneficial* for zir to have grown up without gender predetermined, rather than having grown up misgendered and having to fight to overturn parental/societal expectations at great personal cost.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 12:44 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Why are you assuming that the kids are transgendered when they aren't old enough to really understand what that means?

Logic does not work that way; "I don't know if A is B" is not the same as "A is not B". "Not assuming a child's gender to be ____" is not the same as "assuming a child's gender to be not-____". The parents are doing the former, you're asking me about the latter.


Err, that's not what I'm doing, and your logical analysis of what I'm saying is a non sequitor.

I was not assuming that any particular child is transgender, so your question to me is a non-sequitor.

RockoTDF wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:Furthermore, studies of gender in children suggest that their sense of gendering people and activities is quite developed by age 4 or so. A child doesn't need to know what "transgender" means to have a gender identity.


I never said that. I know well that children understand gender at a young age. That isn't the same as understanding the relatively abstract concept of being transgendered. Sex and gender are so confounded in western society that I really don't think kids know the difference between the two (sex and gender) on the abstract level that you and I do.

Again, a child does not need to understand the concept of "being transgender" to benefit from not being forced into a particular gender identity. A child does not need to understand the concept of "being transgender" to be harmed from being forced into a particular gender identity.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Enuja » Thu May 26, 2011 12:46 am UTC

fr00t, your concern that this is irresponsible parenting seems to depend on two assumptions that I'd be really surprised if you believed in. First, that gender identity is completely independent of any biology whatsoever, and second, that these parents will both try and succeed at sheltering their children from the broad cultural importance of gender conformity.

I'm not going to argue the first, because, given things you've said before, I can't imagine you actually believe that. So that means that you think these kids will have a strong internal drive to identity with the gender that matches their genital. As far as the second goes, I strongly suspect that these children will be more aware of the cultural pressures toward gender conformity than most children. Therefore, by the time they get to puberty, I strongly suspect that these children will chose a gender that matches their physical sex, even in the absence of any internal biological drive towards one gender.

In other words, what DaBigCheez said (but in very different words).

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby bobjoesmith » Thu May 26, 2011 1:02 am UTC

Let me preface this with a disclaimer: I have nothing against anyone, what I speak about applies to 98% of society, baring the differences of an arbitrarily decided percentage minority.

Men and women are different. Men and women sound different, look different, think differently. You can be liberal and say that all humans are created equal, all people have the same opportunities, and should be able to choose every part of what they may be, that we should move towards a freedom utopia. This is wrong. The ideal is high and lofty, but the reality is a crushing hammer. Beyond some exceptions, men become men because of their hormones, not just because of society. Nature has defined a difference in gender for a reason: slugs don't have genders, but almost every developed and advanced life form has a gender- from the smallest insect the the blue whale. Why? Because as economics teaches us, specialization is beneficial. Man has a specific set of hormones, developmental traits and a different pysche because man needed to suit a different role. It can be said that over time, these have built up into excessive amounts of generalizations, ie girls play with dolls. However, these are built off of fundamental differences- there are exceptions, but for the most part, we are told we are boys who will be men because we ARE boys who will turn into men.

Tl;Dr of this paragraph: man and women are built differently biologically. Attempts to alter these concrete barriers in the name of progressivism or freedom of choice is silly.

My greatest concern is not with the silliness to combat nature, but the inherent failures of the parents. The parents can hold to lofty liberal progressive ideals, but the choice here that is lacking is IF the child wants to live a normal life. By forcing a choice onto the child, the infant, a choice was denied. If it was up to me, I would rather live a normal, unremarkable life than one that is marked by controversy and hatred- even if it is balanced with support.

Now I'd assume, by puberty, and as time passes, the child will probably revert to their original gender rendering the whole discussion moot- again hormones are hormones and short of artificially repressing the hormones in the name of freedom of expression, then I really don't see the biological factors that make men men and women women keeping a man a woman or a woman a man. However, if they do still grow up, clinging to another gender, then I can see him or her leading a confused and ostracized life. I just don't understand the reason why it would be a step forward for humanity to do away with genders.

The child has the freedom to decide- but there are so many decisions that should not be given to preschoolers. Perhaps my greatest concern is that this couple tried too hard to reach for an utopia, and will instead destroy a child. The child will not understand the significance of their choice, nor will it be as a result of rational thinking. Instead of being a choice, it will be a coinflip for this child.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 1:10 am UTC

Aaeriele wrote:The variation within "males" and "females" is far larger than the difference in the means. It is certainly an explanation for societal norms, but it is not a justification, nor is it a reason that enforcing them would be beneficial.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby fr00t » Thu May 26, 2011 1:15 am UTC

Enuja wrote:fr00t, your concern that this is irresponsible parenting seems to depend on two assumptions that I'd be really surprised if you believed in. First, that gender identity is completely independent of any biology whatsoever, and second, that these parents will both try and succeed at sheltering their children from the broad cultural importance of gender conformity.
I'm not going to argue the first, because, given things you've said before, I can't imagine you actually believe that. So that means that you think these kids will have a strong internal drive to identity with the gender that matches their genital.


I don't know why I can't believe that. That gender roles are socialized, acquired traits does not mean that they aren't consistent and predictable.

For the sake of argument I'm fine assuming that gender identity is completely independent of biology, since gender is an amalgamation of behavioral characteristics that are primarily learned. The extent to which this isn't true (e.g. males being more aggressive due to higher testosterone) isn't really important here. You could raise a biological-male as female-gendered, but to do so would be criminally negligent.

Enuja wrote: As far as the second goes, I strongly suspect that these children will be more aware of the cultural pressures toward gender conformity than most children. Therefore, by the time they get to puberty, I strongly suspect that these children will chose a gender that matches their physical sex, even in the absence of any internal biological drive towards one gender.


All I was saying was that for the sake of the child, I hope that's true. But from your perspective, I'm not sure how it really could be a fair assumption. Don't children typically learn gender roles before puberty? In the absence of parental guidance, it seems to me like the child might, essentially at random, select one gender over the other. In a scientific sense, I'm interested to see how this turns out. The problem is that as an "experiment", it's unethical because it seems likely to create problems for the child.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu May 26, 2011 1:16 am UTC

bobjoesmith - I appreciate the disclaimer, but it's still hard to read that as other than "I'm going to ignore the existence of trans people because they're inconvenient for the argument I'm trying to make." Your post might also be more clear if you differentiated between sex/genitalia and gender.

That said, can we PLEASE try to avoid turning this into the SB male/female differences thread, or the male vs. female physicists N&A thread, or any of the other argument threads about the difference between males and females? We already have those threads. They were, predictably, derailed in much the same path I see this thread going down. :/
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 1:18 am UTC

fr00t wrote:In the absence of parental guidance, it seems to me like the child might, essentially at random, select one gender over the other.

You say this as if they would be "locked in" to their choice.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby podbaydoor » Thu May 26, 2011 1:21 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Tl;Dr of this paragraph: man and women are built differently biologically. Attempts to alter these concrete barriers in the name of progressivism or freedom of choice is silly.

The way society treats men and women is not the same as biological function in nature.

Men used to wear dresses and skirts all the time - tunics and so on. Male and female children were dressed in the same costume (see the picture of FDR above) because it was easier to plop them on the chamberpot without pants in the way. And yet, now in the 21st century, men are mocked and punished socially if they don't wear pants. In other words, the whole prohibition against certain items of clothing is - and always was - arbitrary, and have nothing to do with biological function. Now examine other societal prescriptions for accepted behavior, and examine how they have changed in particulars over the years - some of the manliest men in 1700s France would have been regarded as flamingly poufy today - and come back and tell us how biological differences have anything whatsoever to do with outdated arbitrary customs.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby fr00t » Thu May 26, 2011 1:23 am UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
fr00t wrote:In the absence of parental guidance, it seems to me like the child might, essentially at random, select one gender over the other.

You say this as if they would be "locked in" to their choice.


First of all - they aren't choosing. Perhaps I should have said "default to one gender over the other".

But at the point that they realize their "choice" of gender did not match their genitals, do you expect them to just up and change their identity? I fail to see what you mean by locked in - people are who they are. Why would you ever want to actively change your identity? And more importantly, how?
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby podbaydoor » Thu May 26, 2011 1:26 am UTC

They might. There's no guarantee they will or won't. But - hopefully - they'll have to fight through less societal programming in their unconscious minds to come to a decision at that time. Less pain.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 1:27 am UTC

fr00t wrote:But at the point that they realize their "choice" of gender did not match their genitals, do you expect them to just up and change their identity?


Considering children often go through many phases in which they drastically alter how they look/act/feel even in households where they are forced into a particular gender...

...yes.

If they find that it works better for them to identify with the gender that matches their physical genitalia, then they most likely will. You give far too little credit to the reasoning abilities of children.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu May 26, 2011 1:30 am UTC

fr00t wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:
fr00t wrote:In the absence of parental guidance, it seems to me like the child might, essentially at random, select one gender over the other.

You say this as if they would be "locked in" to their choice.


First of all - they aren't choosing. Perhaps I should have said "default to one gender over the other".

But at the point that they realize their "choice" of gender did not match their genitals, do you expect them to just up and change their identity?


...Er.

What?

I'm confused here. Are you saying that if they're trans (gender identity != genitalia), that they were wrong and should change their "choice" of gender? Or are you saying that they might not accurately choose their gender identity the first time/that it may change over time? Because if the former, then I'm fairly sure every trans person ever and a fair number of cis people (myself included) would take offense at that. And if the latter, then growing up in an environment where it's clear that they're not locked in to a gender identity/are free to choose rather than going with whatever was pre-determined by an outside party means that there'd be a lot less trauma associated with that realization/re-choosing, no?

NINJA'D: Also, what Aaeri said - I was phrasing my post with puberty/post-puberty in mind, whereas in the more formative years we're discussing, I don't see an issue with saying "yeah, they might swap around a few times until they figure out what feels right".
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Thu May 26, 2011 1:41 am UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Why are you assuming that the kids are transgendered when they aren't old enough to really understand what that means?

Logic does not work that way; "I don't know if A is B" is not the same as "A is not B". "Not assuming a child's gender to be ____" is not the same as "assuming a child's gender to be not-____". The parents are doing the former, you're asking me about the latter.


Err, that's not what I'm doing, and your logical analysis of what I'm saying is a non sequitor.

I was not assuming that any particular child is transgender, so your question to me is a non-sequitor.


You said "As someone who happens to be trans, there are most certainly benefits" which implied to me that you considered the kids to be transgendered, or would at least benefit from taking on certain characteristics of being trans. If anything I was doing an accidental straw man, not a non-sequitor.

Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:"You won't really understand" is not a retort in an intellectual discussion that I'll buy, I'm afraid.

I really don't care whether you "buy it" or not.


Then why are you trying to have an intelligent conversation about this? I care about whether people buy my arguments because I'm trying to persuade them in some way, or because I don't buy theirs. Instead of being snarky about this, why don't you instead try to fit my third gender example into your understanding so that everyone can better understand the issue? This issues in this thread are *not* something near and dear to my heart that really affect my life in the same way that it does yours. So what I mean to say is that my mind is open, and that you can change it (as well as that of lurkers or others participating in this thread). Saying you don't care kind of defeats the point, doesn't it?
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