Column Day! This week I get all controversial-like and take on the issue of raising “gender neutral” kids. As you can tell by my quotation marks, I’m not a fan. Read it here.
And if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a story on the family that set me off on this topic: a British couple who are raising their youngest son, Sasha, to be gender neutral. Another family in Toronto decided to do the same thing last year. They haven’t revealed if their kid, named Storm, is a boy or a girl.
As I argue in my column, you can raise kids who don’t live by stereotypes without going to the ridiculous (in my opinion) extreme of being “neutral.” Neutral says we’re all the same, which just doesn’t hold up in the real world. Nor should it.
I didn’t have the space to do more than hint at it in my column, but I feel the same way about race. I roll my eyes whenever I hear a well-meaning person say that “Race shouldn’t matter anymore” or “I don’t see colour.”
I have never heard a non-white person say this, because most of us “visible minorities” know from experience that sometimes race matters whether we want it to or not.
But it’s OK to acknowledge that we’re different. Our goal shouldn’t be sameness or neutrality. Our adopted daughter from Rwanda — who also happens to be deaf — is going to have a very different story than her brothers, but that’s fine. It doesn’t make her any less a part of our family.
I just had this discussion on Facebook about the word “tolerance,” which is just as politically correct and insipid as “neutral.” I don’t want to be “tolerated” any more than I want the things that make me unique to be ignored. I’d rather be appreciated, understood, accepted for who I am… strengths, flaws, eccentricities and all. That’s what I want for my kids too, and I want to start by teaching them to show that same respect for others.
Anyhow, end rant. To close things off on a nice soothing note, here’s a song by Feist. (If you read the column you’ll get the reference. And yes, I’m drinking lemon ginger tea right now.)