Royal Baby Response: “It’s a Boy!”… But What if He’s Not?

“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.

Homework Assignment

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!

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  • Eve

    July 23, 2013 at 1:41 AM Reply

    Ha – so far this was the only interesting thought I’ve read about the “royal baby”…as if it’s any more special that they had a baby. I am highly upset that the media didn’t ask me for interviews when I first brought home my little Buster-Boy 😉 Silliness aside, reading your comments about determining whether it’s a male or female baby made me think of myself as a little girl. I was always more of a tomboy, playing basketball, hanging out with guys, sweating into the same t-shirt for days, refusing to shop in the “girl-section”, and letting my hair go wild…I eventually enjoyed dressing more like an actual girl, BUT I don’t think that I’ve lost my attitude because I find most “girl-things” rather annoying. I guess my point is that even if someone sticks with their “originally assigned gender”, it’s important to experience both sides of the spectrum. And this brings me to my thought, that I never liked the whole “baby-blue and baby-pink” thing either. Let’s just say that my baby’s room is most likely going to be some sort of a grass-green or so. Neutral. Yet baby-esque. And should I have a little girl, maybe she doesn’t need to look like pink cotton-candy at all times either…!

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      July 23, 2013 at 8:16 AM Reply

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I’m glad it was thought-provoking for you. 🙂

  • MarySue Foster

    July 23, 2013 at 6:42 AM Reply

    How true. The first thing anyone says when you arrive in the world is It’s a boy! or It’s a girl! And there you are, in that box, forever. It’s really kind of silly that we’ve divided the world into such a binary system because of anatomy. I like your post here!

  • Rachel Seifert

    July 26, 2013 at 6:58 PM Reply

    The binary is an illusion and the sooner we as a race figure that out, the better. I like Helen Boyd’s take. She suggests that as soon as someone can unequivocally explain to her the opposite of a feminine man, she consider binary plausible. Is it a masculine man, a masculine female, or? Certainly, from my perspective as a trans-woman, the binary seems somewhat ridiculous. While I am undoubtedly a woman, there are “male” traits that haven’t suddenly disappeared or diminished in direct proportion to my level of feminization. Nor do/did I expect them to. We are each of us a delightful smorgasbord of traits and none and no one should be discounted simply because they appear masculine or feminine. Bravo to the parents that listen to their children encouraging them to explore who they are and supporting their choices along the way! I’m with you Dara in hoping for the evolution of a trans person in an influential family that, instead of shame and ridicule, is showered with love and support.

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      July 27, 2013 at 9:19 AM Reply

      Agreed Rachel, and anytime we can shatter an illusion it equals more freedom for everyone to be who they really are. Thanks for sharing!

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