You've Got to Be a Few Sequins Short of a Tutu to Raise Your Son as 'Gender Neutral'

Daily Mail (London), January 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

You've Got to Be a Few Sequins Short of a Tutu to Raise Your Son as 'Gender Neutral'


Byline: by Melanie Phillips

WHEN Sasha Laxton was born five years ago, his parents decided they wanted to avoid classifying him as either a boy or a girl.

They felt that to do so was a kind of 'sexual stereotyping' which had to be avoided at all costs.

So instead of referring to their son as a boy, they talked about him as the 'infant' and kept his gender secret from all but a few close friends and family until he started school.

So proud were they of what they were doing that they even posted on YouTube a video of Sasha saying it was 'silly' to talk of differences between boys and girls, and sent friends pictures of him dressed as a pink and glittery fairy.

Damaging To which most people will probably be shaking their heads in disbelief and thinking: 'That poor child.' Doubtless, Sasha's parents love their son and want to do only the best for him. But really, it is hard to believe that people can be quite so desperately misguided, not to say completely out to lunch.

It's one thing for parents to encourage their sons to be a bit more gentle and caring, and their daughters to be a bit more adventurous and mechanically minded.

But to believe that the innate difference between a boy and a girl is something that is 'shaped' by other people and slots a child 'into a damaging box' labelled gender is, frankly, to appear a few sequins short of a tutu.

For Sasha is a boy, and there are differences between boys and girls, males and females.

Would these parents similarly feel that they are being slotted into a damaging box if they are referred to as Sasha's father and mother? Perhaps they would reject as 'sexual stereotyping' any suggestion that they are themselves a man and a woman? They seem to be motivated by the aim -- perfectly laudable in itself -- that their son should be free to reach his full potential.

But Sasha's full potential lies in what he will achieve as a boy, not in turning into a girl. And the stark truth is that by telling him that the latter is an option, his parents are putting him at a terrible disadvantage.

Not only are they likely to make him the butt of ridicule, but, far more seriously, they risk plunging him into damaging and long-lasting psychological confusion about what he actually is.

For someone's gender -- along with their sexuality -- is a key element of that individual's identity. If they are confused about their gender, they are likely to grow up confused about their identity.

Indeed, it is hard to think of a more fundamental way of mucking up a child and imperilling his healthy development.

People suffering from innate gender confusion, when they feel they are trapped in the body of the opposite gender to the one to which they belong, are tragic cases. Deliberately to try to bring about such confusion in a child's mind by using him as a kind of guineapig in a social experiment is really quite shocking.

Nevertheless, Sasha's parents are by no means a one-off aberration in pursuing this aim. Last year, a Canadian couple insisted they would also raise their baby, Storm, as a gender-neutral child. In certain circles, this is becoming a fashion.

The fact is that for more than three decades, Left-wing ideologues have been determinedly unravelling sexual and gender differences -- on the grounds that the very idea that people are different amounts to a kind of prejudice.

Bizarre as it may seem, what started as a campaign for equal rights progressed into a movement to abolish altogether the differences between men and women.

This movement consisted of an alliance between, on the one hand, radical feminists who were consumed by hatred of men and, on the other, gay activists intent upon blurring the distinction between heterosexual and same-sex unions. …

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