When I read this piece from The New York Times website about a Swedish couple that decided to keep the gender of their toddler a secret, I was really interested.
The toddler's mother is quoted as saying:
“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet last spring. “It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
The piece then quotes Anna Nordenström, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Karolinska Institutet, as saying (emphasis added):
“It will affect the child, but it’s hard to say if it will hurt the child,” says Nordenström, who studies hormonal influences on gender development.
“I don’t know what they are trying to achieve. It’s going to make the child different, make them very special.”
She says if Pop is still “genderless’” by the time he or she starts school, Pop will certainly receive a lot of attention from classmates.“We don’t know exactly what determines sexual identity, but it’s not only sexual upbringing,” says Nordenström. “Gender-typical behaviour, sexual preferences and sexual identity usually go together. There are hormonal and other influences that we don’t know that will determine the gender of the child.”
I think that Pop's parents are trying to be proactive about the problem that gender often presents. Granted, I have not studied hormonal influences on gender development (and I'm not even sure I believe there is much of an influence), but I think that these parents should be given a lot of credit for trying to take this matter into their own hands instead of giving their child up to a gendered society that often works to limit the abilities and opportunities of people who are not gendered as male. Even if Pop is biologically male, I can see many benefits for the child not growing up gendered in that way.
What do you think?