It’s difficult to get an exact number but the media has highlighted numerous instances of parents allowing their children to choose their gender. Being a long standing critic of the concept of gender neutrality while still strongly advocating gender equality I am appalled at the notion of gender choice. Let’s get real. Except for a very small percentage ( 0.02% to 0.05% ) of individuals who are born intersex most of us are born with a penis or a vagina. By definition those with a penis and the hormones that created that organ are called male. Those with a vagina and the hormones that created that part of the anatomy are called female. That is not a choice or subject to parental decision making. The non-binary and the myriad of other politically correct identifiers for those with intact sex organs is meaningless. You are born either a male or female and that doesn’t change unless you have participated in a surgical and hormonal sex change process.
I have no problem with a boy wanting to be a ballet dancer or a boy who wants to dress up a girl doll or a girl wanting to play in the mud and participate in contact sports. They can still call themselves he or she. Certainly there are social and cultural norms that effect how we express our genders. Telling your son that not wearing a pink dress to school is not going to harm his self esteem as long as you simply explain that boys wear certain types of clothing in our society and that conforming to a dress standard does not inhibit his choices about interests and activities. Conversely, if a girl prefers short hair and a flannel shirt she can still be a girl pursuing her interests without shame or redirection. It is possible, and we are getting better, to expand gender roles without the confusing myriad of “woke” gender labels. Let me be clear. I am not talking about sexual orientation. Being gay does not change the fact that you are a male or female.
I believe that the labels to describe one’s sexual identity are causing a great deal of stress especially for adolescents who are trying to come to terms with their sexuality. In my opinion gender confusion is one of the many factors to explain the sharp increase in mental health issues among adolescents and young adults. Parents, please understand that you are not going to do psychological damage to your children by maintaining the gender identity they were born with. Instead, give them the freedom to pursue their interests without adding the demands of confronting the non-restrictive social norms associated with gender. I will repeat my mantra, you do not have to be gender neutral to be gender equal.