An issue that reappears in my thoughts more often than you would think and in discussions with friends over and over again is how to raise children in a gender sensitive way and whether gender neutral upbringing is possible. While I am mostly concerned with not meeting my own expectations of creating an environment that is sensitive, understanding and safe – granted I decide to have children at all – I often face, among some of my friends, the most skeptical and agitated opinions about sex and gender when it comes to children. I guess for most people, parenting is a knockout topic where they want you to be finally all grown-up, stop being so critical all the time, forget about these ‘crazy’ alternative ideas and finally paint the kid’s room pink or blue. But how do you raise your children gender-sensitive when almost the whole world wants you to at least accept a kid’s biological sex?
When I was doing research for my blog post this week, I checked out the website of TransEnough and found this interesting video that asks for financial help for publishing trans-positive kids books with gender independent children characters offering a different narrative than the heteronormative one. You can make up your own mind about these particular books from the video and you may find them effective or boring, since advertising them is not my point. What is a huge thing to me already without even having read the books is that they exist.
I guess this whole insecurity about raising my fictive children is mostly rooted in having had no visible example that portrays ‘alternative narratives’ and puts them in positive environments, because they surely weren’t very popular when I was a child. This video, however, makes me realize first of all that I am not alone, but also understand (again) that there are many different family models and different types of humans who do not stop to be the someone they identify as when they have children. So, gender-sensitive parenting must be possible. A truly uplifting thought.
This realization almost made my doubts and insecurities about having children go away, but not entirely, because I never know what ‘crazy idea’ of mine stops me from having children tomorrow, since there is so much more which needs thorough consideration.
– franziska krause