• coralsea

    Thank you for publishing this piece.   As a child in the early 1960s, I desperately wanted to be a boy because I wanted to play Little League baseball and build soapbox racers–activities from which little girls like me were barred.  In high school (1970s), I was eligible to enroll in an honors-track, two-year science class leading to AP science.  My parents and the parents of the two other girls who were also eligible received threatening and harrassing phone calls from parents of boys who wanted their sons in the class.  I decided not to enroll after I had a conversation with the teacher, who informed me that he didn’t want “gals” in his class.  (Admission — I only went to high school one day a week.  I went horseback riding the rest of the time because I hated high school, so when the teacher was such a dick about it, I was glad to drop the issue.)  One girl enrolled.  She was harrassed and picked on, although she is now a prominent cancer researcher.

     

    Things are certainly better, on average, for American girls now in regard to the opportunities open to them, but the expectations that society places on people, especially in regard to “gender,” is still responsible for a lot of ruined dreams and squashed talent.  It really is time for society to begin seeing people as the complex and many-faceted beings that we are.  Standing up for those who wish to engage in interests or activities that aren’t supposedly or traditionally practiced by their gender (e.g., dancing, home sewing, decorating for boys who like these things; “hard-core” practical sciences (like field geology), building stuff (ahhh – soapbox racers) or engaging in martial arts or boxing, and competitive achievement for girls who like these things) is an important step.

     

    My straight-laced and conservative parents recently had their own epiphany when they learned that one of their grandchildren had an intersex condition.  Once they learned about such conditions, and that intersex is far from rare, they happily reached the conclusion that kids are more than simply their obvious gender and set about, eagerly speculating about what types of activities the child would like–whether they would include drawing and painting, like their artistic son (my brother), or building stuff and crawling around getting all dirty from exploring nature like one of their daughters (me), or any of the myriad other activities that, at their core, don’t have to be gender-linked to be appropriate.

     

    Go humans!  Be yourselves, whoever you are.  We all have worth and value.  

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