“It’s a boy!” exclaimed the media today in response to the announcement of the birth of the Royal Baby (i.e. the first child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge). I had the same response that I always do nowadays whenever I hear anyone proclaim “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”
How do you know?
“Well, because they have a penis or vagina.”
So I’m guessing the Royal Baby has the former.
But what if this child, somewhere around age four or five, begins to express discomfort with being seen and addressed as a “bloke.” The child might say to Mummy and Daddy, “Why does everyone keep calling me a boy? Don’t they know I’m a girl?”
And wouldn’t it be something if Mummy and Daddy responded, “Okay, (insert Royal Baby name). We believe you. Let’s find out what we can do to help you with that.”
At some point everyone in the world would find out, and what an uproar there would be! The debate would go on for weeks, months, maybe even the entire duration of the Royal Baby’s young adulthood.
I even wondered if Prince William, in an exclusive interview with the BBC, would say, “I wasn’t sure at first what to do. And then I realized, if my mother were here, then Granny Diana would have said, ‘Listen to the child.’”
I know the chances are slim that the Royal Baby is transgender. But even British royalty isn’t immune to this possibility. Of course we don’t know if the reaction would be as positive as I’m describing either, but who knows, what with William and Kate being of a younger generation of parents?
I suppose we will wait and see. And if it won’t be the Royal Baby, perhaps there’ll be another child born to someone of “celebrity” status who experiences Gender Dysphoria. Perhaps the parent(s) will have the courage to listen to their child, to support their child, and be unashamed to encourage the rest of the world to do the same with their children.
In conclusion, here’s one of my favorite responses to the “So, are you having a boy or a girl?” question (Note: Replacing “sex” with “gender” in the first statement would make more sense, so feel free to do so).
Ellen Degeneres: Do you know the sex of the child?
Tina Fey: We decided we are going to wait. We’re going to find out…never. Not even after the baby is born.
Ellen: Not even after the baby is born?
Tina: I’m just going to see what they choose to wear to prom.
We’re a long way off from physicians and sonograms proclaiming, “It’s a baby!” instead of “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” (I’ll admit, back in 2001 I was incredibly curious as to whether or not I was having a boy or a girl. Although I do wonder if I picked the name “Tyler” for a reason…).
In the meantime, start paying more attention to when you and others form an expectation of their baby being born a boy or a girl, purely based on their anatomy.
I understand it may be difficult, at least presently, to not want to call a baby one or the other. So, as a compromise, allow the baby to grow up being able to express both their masculine and feminine sides freely. Even if they aren’t transgender they may be gender non-conforming, gender fluid, or even just someone who would appreciate not being stifled during their upbringing by the gender binary expectations of what it means to be “male” or “female.”
Would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this!