Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beyond Sports: summer camp for gender variant children

The New York Times just published an article on a summer camp for gender variant children: boys and girls who sometimes or always want to dress like the oppisite sex. I've written a lot about gender issues here, and this article is a good contemporary take on how parent's struggle with making the correct decisions for their children, one's that let their kids be themselves yet may put them in harm's way, vis-a-vis bullying and rejection. 

While it is OK for girls to be 'tom boys' when young, boys who want to wear pink face obstacles. For example, the piece begins with a story about Alex:

The night before Susan and Rob allowed their son to go to preschool in a dress, they sent an e-mail to parents of his classmates. Alex, they wrote, “has been gender-fluid for as long as we can remember, and at the moment he is equally passionate about and identified with soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas (not to mention lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows).” They explained that Alex had recently become inconsolable about his parents’ ban on wearing dresses beyond dress-up time. After consulting their pediatrician, a psychologist and parents of other gender-nonconforming children, they concluded that “the important thing was to teach him not to be ashamed of who he feels he is.” Thus, the purple-pink-and-yellow-striped dress he would be wearing that next morning. For good measure, their e-mail included a link to information on gender-variant children.

The article is acconpanied by a photo essay, including a fashio show.  For the complete article, click here. Also check out, Pink is for Boys.

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