My only concern with this story is that she is putting her child at risk for difficulties socializing with his or her peers even before he or she reaches sexual maturity and identity/gender identity becomes much more relevant. This child’s peers will naturally be curious and if Mom hasn’t done an exceptionally good job at coaching her child how to cope with questions and hostility (like she seems to be coaching her other children), it seems unlikely that the child will be mature enough to understand why his peers are so curious and maybe even hostile.
I like that she is trying to teach her children about thinking about gender as fluid and highly personal, but I think she is forgetting just how social gender is. Gender is really only relevant in a social context - I dress/act a certain way because this is how I define femininity and want to present that femininity to the world. I think it might have been an equally effective but less potential for social isolation if Mom had continued to have these conversations with his or her child, saying this is how the world sees you, and give him/her every opportunity to be gender non-conforming throughout his or her life. It really just makes me uncomfortable that her child is becoming such a critical social experiment for her without his/her fully understand what’s going on.
People in the news that need a good social worker:
Jared Loughner: Medicating someone just so that they can stand trial does not address any issues. What’s your backup plan if in four months he’s still unfit? Keep medicating him? Yeah great idea. Then eventually you’ll release him where he’ll recommit a crime, end up back in jail, then back in the hospital, and so forth. He’s just being set up for a life-long cycle through hospitals and jails.
Family of the gender-neutral baby: I get it, you think society puts too much emphasis on gender roles. That’s fine if you want to let your 5-year-old son wear pink and dresses. But to keep your infant’s gender a secret?! And then expect your two and five year olds to keep a secret like this? Have fun with dealing with all the tormenting and bullying it has in its future.
Julianne McCrery: Will they find her unfit to stand trial, too? (See Jared Loughner)