Journalist Ruth Padawer has written a phenomenally researched and reported story about gender-nonconforming kids, to be published in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday, and online now. I’m thrilled that many parents and professionals are facing the issue head on, and with compassion.
I’ve often said to people when talking about Lina that one of the things that has struck me is how eager I was for her to be “one or the other.” If my husband didn’t want to be male anymore, well at least he wanted to be female and not some ambiguous in-between genderqueer sort of thing.
I’m not proud of this view. Certainly I’ve opened my eyes to nonbinary gender nonconformity, but it’s a hard thing to embrace and really to absorb because gender runs so deep in so many ways, ways that many people don’t see. I’m empathetic toward it and absolutely support NOT boxing someone into a gender. But I also acknowledge that for me (and most people) it’s difficult, and, honestly, I’m glad it’s not the issue I was presented with. That makes me think of the mother of a male-to-female child I spoke with recently who said, “couldn’t he have just been gay?” And we laughed at that because it all becomes relative (regarding any topic). So I can imagine many of the parents in Ms. Padawer’s article saying, couldn’t she have just been transgender?
Thanks to Ruth Padawer for her story and to the Times for running it. Gender does seem to be the social issue of the decade, and for that I am very thankful!