I’m raising my child gender-neutral, and what I’ve learned is: It’s not enough.

When I prepared to become a mother for the first time in 2005, I was staunchly fully committed to causing my insignificant new human in the most gender-neutral of ways.

We had opted to not ascertain his biological sex prior to his arrival, and registered for dark-green and yellowish child components, shunning the stereotypical pink and blue-blooded at all costs. We declared that he would have access to all the dyes, playthings, and activities regardless of where they fell among societal gender criteria. 12 years later, that child is an enunciate, feelings man-cub who is on the cusp of navigating gender issues and sexuality for himself for the first time.( Godspeed, kiddo ).

My second child, nonetheless, has been different. I parent both my girls gender-neutral, but Nova has cuddled that in its full represent, spurning gendered pronouns and modes in favor of being just, well, Nova.

I’ve done a great deal of growing and learning and evolving myself in both my parenting and politics along the way. In the past few years, what I’ve begun to realize is that, in many circumstances, these strives at gender-neutral parenting may not be quite enough. In fact, I’ve been propelled from gender-neutral parenting and have arrived on a call to action to break down the gender binary altogether .

In the first few years of life, Nova was just Nova.

Gender wasn’t precisely high on my inventory of applies when it came to promoting them. At 5 years old, my adolescent once has lived and misplaced more than many kinfolks do in their own lives.

Photo by Ashlee Dean Wells.

From a complicated gestation and living the death of their monozygotic twin, to arriving 16 weeks premature and weighing exclusively 1 pound, it’s exhibition to say that Nova has been fighting an uphill battle from the start. They continue to slay every difficulty in their course, but still, as person or persons living with special the requirements and permanent disabilities, there is a lot of freedom they are forced to abdicate on a daily basis. I didn’t want to prepare gender another hand-picked that Nova didn’t get to make for themselves.

Initially we exercised she/ her pronouns, and I made a dress on them every so often, but their gender still wasn’t a “thing.” We navigated our life and appointments, attire, toys, and activities in our conventional neutral route while defaulting to “girl” here and there. Around their 3rd birthday, however, along with an outburst of lingo and sovereignty, came clear likings that required more attention. They requested a new haircut that involved the word “bald” and refused to wear a dress “ever again.” Along with an even more androgynous image, new speeches and trends in responses from our greater world began to surface.

Seeing parties react to and interact with Nova has taught me a lot about gender in the wider world.

In medical, social, and educational settings, I began to note how differently beings discussed Nova when they usurped the latter are a boy versus when they assumed the latter are a girl. When Nova was acquired a son, the latter are called “strong, heroic, smart, funny.” When Nova was expected a girl, they were called “sweet, fragile, charming, kind.” Different dialogue ensued, different openings were presented, there were different responses to behavior, and it was both fascinating and unsettling at the same term.

It wasn’t really adults though. Among children, Nova was often asked by other youth unless they are a boy or a girl, to which Nova would( and still will) respond, “I’m a Nova! ” or “I’m a human! ” When yielded this reply, often, beings of any age turn to me or another mother and ask again, “Is Nova a boy or a girl? ” To which we default back to Nova.

What astounded me is how annoyed and confused parties are by Nova’s desire to be recognized free of gender.

I have watched adult humans stretch visibility irked and have had several parties tell me that they simply don’t know how to talk to Nova without firstly knowing their gender.

Photo by Ashlee Dean Wells.

It has been proven repeatedly that we treat even infants differently based on our expectations of their gender, but it’s confuse that the gender binary , standards, and beliefs have such a stronghold on so many of us that we literally cannot communicate without their constructs .

Why is this?

I don’t have all the answers, and whatever they find themselves, the answers are admittedly contentious and complex. What I do know, however, is that my household is one with a foundation of respect . The arbitrary concepts of gender are still beyond Nova’s grasp, but with so much in their life out of their regulate, this seems like such an obvious and simple lane we can choose to statu who they are. As they stretch, develop, and matured, we will continue to respect the ways in which they derive and recognize regardless of who they originate to be.

Over the past few months, there has been a natural progression of language in our residence alluding to Nova with the non-binary/ neutral pronouns, they/ them, because conversation matters. Because by choosing or applying female pronouns for them based on their genitalia and nothing else, we ARE gendering Nova and make contributions to the binary lanes in which others hear and respond to them, even if our goal is to remain gender neutral.

I’ll be the first be recognised that I don’t know where we go from here.

However, I do know that Nova has broken down the binary for me in such a simple space that I can’t pull myself back to it. In doing so, I’m not calling for a total elimination of gender, but preferably an acknowledgment that impartiality may not was not sufficient if our thinking is still rooted in a patriarchal binary that not everyone is appropriate to .

Society may not yet be post-gender, but our dwelling can easily be.

This narrative originally appeared in ravishly and is reprinted here with dispensation .

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