The boy. All five-and-a-half years of fiercely gendered preconception and gloriously tactless views. Pink? Its not even worth the argument. Girls wear pink. Boys don’t.
For him, that is as axiomatic as the sun rising in the morning and vinegar on chips.
Trans, though. That hasn’t exactly upset him, so much as introduced a smidgeon of doubt into his absolutist world view. We had the initial bra tantrum: “if daddy is going to wear a skirt, he should wear one of THESE too!”
We’ve had the trans/gay argument. Wearing girl’s clothes is GAY. No its not, said andrea: its “trans”.
Gay! Trans. Gay! Trans. Mother and son have such deep and intellectual arguments at times. 🙂
We think that one has sunk in. “Gay” is a word in use amongst older children. Those under ten have not yet learned to go (as their older sibs have): “look at the tranny”.
We’re not exactly going for the heavy-handed indoctrination. The boy does not get sat down and lectured. But we do try, occasionally, to introduce world views that will challenge his traditionalist certainties.
Step forward Enid Blyton. Whilst the Gay Movement was fighting to introduce a slightly less standard view of family life with such horridly correct confections as “Jenny lives with Eric and Martin”, Enid Blyton had already done it – many years previously – for the trans movement.
(As an aside, i have never understood why it was necessary to CREATE gay icons for children when children’s literature already abounds with potential, from the story of Achilles and Patroclus, through to their modern counterparts, Batman and Robin).
Because what else is George (aka – but not to her face – Georgina) in the “Famous Five”, other than early days gender-bending role model? Here, from last night’s story time, is one line (there are many more) that pretty much sums her up.
“She won’t answer if you call her Georgina”, explained Anne. “She’s awfully queer, I think”.
Hmmm. The boy was intrigued. “But…George is a boy’s name. Only she’s a girl?”
“Yes”, andrea explained. “Some girls like to be more like boys. Some boys like to be more like girls. Like daddy.”
A degree of deep thinking followed.
Anyway we’re not looking for a reading programme that is full-on, in his face, indoctrination. But anything that challenges. Anything that makes him ask questions – and possibly realise that gender is not quite as fixed as he imagines. That would be nice. Suggestions, anyone?
P.S. Although i maintained – i suspect erroneously – for a long time that i had little interest in “girly things”, my favourite Enid Blyton was always the Girl’s School stories. “Mallory Towers” and the like.