Being raised without traditional gender roles does not make you ”confused”

A rant from the result of an upbringing without traditional gender roles

The other day, I stumbled upon one of many articles about a kindergarten in Sweden that attempts to give the children the same treatment, the same toys and same gender pronouns, no matter the gender. As I scrolled down through the comment section I saw a pattern in the arguments against it that made me want to write this exact post.

”If raising your children gender neutral, they will grow up being confused about their gender”
”Raising your children gender neutral or without traditional gender roles will make them sexually confused or gay”

These were the two main arguments that the people used in the comment section and these also seem to be the same arguments that to this day still hold people back from raising their children gender neutral or without traditional gender roles. 
Claiming that your child will grow up to be gay if you raise them gender neutral or without traditional gender roles, equals to saying that if you DO raise your child with traditional gender roles and NOT gender neutral, you can make sure that your child will grow up to be straight and not at all confused about their gender. I think we all know that this does not add up. Plenty of people who have been raised traditionally have turned out queer. This point of view is due to the fact that we live in a belief that if you are a feminine man or a masculine woman, you are gay. So GOD FORBID that your little boy should prefer to play with Barbie dolls over action figures, right? The fact that some people apparently want to base the way that they raise their children on stereotypes, makes me sigh deeply. It is extremely intolerant and narrow-minded if you believe that your child will grow up to be gay because they prefer the toys, clothes or activities that society tells us are meant for the opposite gender. Children are children and we should let THEM decide what toy they want to play with and what clothes they like to wear instead of letting their reproductive organs decide for them. On a similar note, it shocks me to see how we are letting heteronormativity rule like this, by actually having preferences when it comes to what sexuality our children grow up to have.

People who use the argument that children raised gender neutral or without traditional gender roles will grow up to be confused, have clearly never actually met someone who was raised that way. It seems to me that a lot of people out there use the above-mentioned arguments in the debate and it makes me question if there is in fact any numbers or stories suggesting that this is a fact, or if these people simply base their arguments on ignorance. 
 I strongly believe that it is the latter.

Personally, I was raised without traditional gender roles, or at least I was never put into a box saying what I could and should do due to my gender. 
 I was still called ”she” and my mom still made me aware of the fact that I was a girl but never in a way that would limit me and she never put up restrictions based on my gender. 
 Growing up I dressed in mostly “boys’ clothes” (because clothes have gender, right? Hint: NO) and played mostly with “boys’ toy” and just in general enjoyed doing the activites that are traditionally associated with being a boy. 
 Even though that my mom let me look like a boy and act like a boy I was never one moment of my life unsure that I was a girl and I was perfectly happy being a girl. In fact, I loved being a girl. I loved that one day I could go to school in a pink skirt and the next day in baggy pants.

Now I am 20 and I am still pretty aware of my gender and frankly not at all confused. Looking back at it, there was never a time in my life where being raised without traditional gender roles, made me confused about myself in any way. The only thing that did make me confused was when people had troubles identifying my gender. “Are you a boy or a girl?” was a question I got asked a lot before I hit puberty because people couldn’t seem to make my girl’s name add up with my appearance and looks. I never understood why it didn’t make sense to them that I was in fact a girl, even though I didn’t want the Happy Meal toys for girls.
Why did they have such a narrow view on what a “real girl” was and why did they keep thinking that something was wrong with me because I didn’t live up to the traditional image of what a girl is? 
When I hit puberty I started to dress and act more like what society perceives as a ”real girl” — and you know why? Exactly for the same reason I dressed and acted like a boy before that: BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I F-ING FELT LIKE DOING, not because anyone told me that I should or ought to.

It’s been a while since someone has been confused about my gender but the view people had when I was a child, still exists. 
 The problem is not necessarily that we always put a gender on everything, the problem is that our view on what gender is and what it does, is too narrow. Our reproductive organs do not define our gender. The clothes we choose to wear and the way we act do not define our gender either (nor our sexuality) — it is what YOU as a person identify as and what feels right to YOU that makes you your gender, even if that means having no gender or more than one.

I hope the world will start to realize that raising your children gender neutral or without traditional gender roles will not result in “confused” or “gay” children, but it will on the other hand result in human-beings who are open-minded. People who will pass on a fluid view on what gender is and remove the limitations of traditional gender roles.

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