“How do you feel when your daddies call you a boy?”
That conversation happened over a year and a half ago, with our just turned 3 pre-schooler. We had always given him freedom to act and play and present however he wanted. We had never told him “boys do…, girls do…”.
Foolishly, we thought that wouldn’t happen. If a small child is allowed to wear dresses and play with dolls, why would they dislike being a boy? They’re just words, right? It shouldn’t really matter before puberty, should it?
He had started noticing the differences between girls and boys more, started to seem upset about what people called him. So I finally asked.
After that conversation it felt like time stopped. I went through all the possibilities, all the pain, all the awkward conversations, all the potential bullying, how much easier it is to be cisgender. So many things that a 3 year old doesn’t and shouldn’t understand wrapped up in that statement. Things that I wished weren’t real, that such a tiny child should never be at risk of facing.
Time started moving again.
“Okay. We’ll stop, then.”