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I’m with you. I’ve had more than enough gender-essentialist nonsense. It’s called a household, and all the people living there are responsible to each other. You make a mess, you pick up the damned sponge and clean up your mess. It doesn’t matter what you karyotype looks like, or what is located between your legs. Sheesh! And how horrifyingly oppressive to impose on any child the idea that you HAVE to be a certain way. Of course your children will comply with your model — you are their parent — but the damage done is incalculable.

The greatest gift we can give our children is to fully accept them as they are. If your son doesn’t want to learn to fix the truck, it’s your job to be the adult and suck it up, even if being good with tools is the most important thing in the world to you. My daughter will never publish a paper in Science or Nature. I would dearly love for her to share my love of academic work, but that’s not who she is. Instead of trying to force her into a mold not made for her, I have been blessed to see her develop into a totally amazing dancer. And one of my most treasured roles in parenting her is that I am the one who sews the ribbons onto her pointe shoes. That doesn’t make me feminized or a snowflake, it makes me her Dad. Instead of learning that she can only rely on her Dad for things that he thinks are manly enough, she knows that she can rely on her Dad to do the things that really matter to her. Recently, when she didn’t want to go to a second fitting of a prom dress, she told my wife, “It’s ok, if there’s a problem Dad can fix it.” This was an elaborate dress and her confidence was misplaced, but I’ll take that as a parenting win, any day!

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