Parents’ Prerogative

I have seen the genitals of my unborn child, and I’m not telling you what they look like. I mean, they’re awesomer than your mom’s, but no details beyond that. Partner and I went ahead and found out because at both of our ultrasounds, Little Alien went spread eagle, and no mater how fuzzy those black and white surrealist sonograms are, basic anatomy isn’t that hard to grasp. I don’t mind when my Alien’s gender question is at the end of a string of other questions, but when it comes up first, I somehow doubt that the asker is anybody I want to hang out with for more than thirty seconds.

I love gore and body facts, including genitals, as much as the next guy, but I don’t really see how knowing the gender of a tiny creature, or a full-grown adult, really helps us interact better as humans. Not initially anyway. Sure, before I buy lingerie or sex toys for somebody, it’s helpful to know how they identify, but telling booger jokes with tots doesn’t require any of that. Neither does dressing babies. They aren’t capable of protesting which colors we dress them in until they’re at least one, and at that age, they usually still fall for being offered two options, as long as they get to pick from them, even if they are both tutus or both bowties.

It’s a parent’s prerogative to decide in which manner to scar their children. Every single parenting style has up sides and down sides, and at least I am thinking about which scarring route to take. Do I want to pay so much attention to its feelings that I turn it into a self-centered squish bomb? Do I want to teach it that candy and animals products are evil? Do I want to make it so sporty it only takes remedial classes? Do I want it to spend so much time in the library that it can’t carry a conversation? No! I simply want to offer it a wide variety of gender options, despite its genitals. There will be down sides to this – like when it screams at me as a teenager for asking all of its friends how they identify – but this is my particular itch. Gender freedom is one of the many ways in which I will permanently mark this child. Once it can talk, learning appropriate use of swear words will probably be a bigger challenge than choosing its pronouns.

I also plan on scarring it in other ways. I’ll make it share its toys beyond the call of duty, making it overly generous and easy to take advantage of. I’ll let it see slightly scarier horror things that it should. I’ll over-explain mechanical and scientific processes that I find fascinating. I’ll let it think that believing in Santa and anybody’s god are on equal footing. And if I ever catch it being a bully, or even not standing up against a bully, I will make it feel so bad about itself that it will wish is was Jewish or Catholic so that at least it had an outlet for all of the guilt. That is, if it manages to not be the victim of the bullies itself. With this gene pool, it’s going to have a huge forehead, poor eyesight, allergies to everything and a pretty good chance of being autistic, considering how many awkward tendencies run in this family.

Everybody has some afflictions, and I’m excited to choose some that will match the traits that crawl out of the shallow end of this gene pool, including muddling its gender traits, starting by not telling you which biological gender it appears to be so far. Keep guessing.

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