Labels Belong on Boxes, Not Children

I was at the meditation center with my 14 year old daughter last week and we were looking at a bulletin board for upcoming meetings.  We saw a flyer advertising an LGBTQA meeting taking place the next week.  My daughter told me that it should really read LGBTQA+.  The PLUS was for people who didn’t fit into any of the other categories.  I stopped to ponder her comment for a bit and had to ask myself “How many categories do we need?” when it comes to identifying a person’s gender or sexual orientation?

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When a child is born,  we immediately put a label on it.  If that a child has a penis, it’s a boy.  If the child has a vagina,  it’s labeled a girl.  As the child starts to grow up,  we give it more labels.  Our new baby may be friendly or happy.  In a few years, we label our toddlers as ‘a biter’ or ‘a good sleeper’.  We label our children as they grow older. We call them shy, introverted, or tomboy. How many labels does one child need? I am beginning to think that labels belong on  boxes, not children.

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Just because we give birth to a child that has a penis doesn’t mean that the child needs to grow up to play with cars. Likewise,  just because your child has female anatomy does not mean she needs to wear pink and pretend to be a princess.  But suddenly parents everywhere have to put labels on their kids like clothes we send to overnight camp.  If their daughter likes to play matchbox cars and dress up as a fireman,  all of a sudden we call her a tomboy.  Well, at least we did when *I* was growing up.  Now,  we have a new label for these girls who don’t like pink and dolls. We have to call them ‘gender confused’ or  some silly thing like that.  Clearly we can’t have a child with female anatomy who plays with traditionally masculine toys.  She is clearly confused as to her gender identity and we stick a label on her. Otherwise she won’t fit in the box we have placed her in inside our minds.

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The same goes for a boy.  If you have a child with male anatomy who happens to want to dress up as a princess and have tea parties,  clearly he’s confused when it comes to his gender identity.  He can’t just be a boy who happens to like tea parties.  Not in today society.  Nowadays he’s gender confused. It’s  just yet another label that we need to stick on our children to fit them into the box society has decided they need to fit in.

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When those children set aside their toys and start pursuing grown-up ideas like falling in love and having sex, we give them even more labels.  We labeled them gay, bisexual, or lesbian based on the gender of the person that they fall in love with.  I firmly believe our sexuality is much more fluid than most people like to believe.  There is a distinct possibility that society plays a major role in telling our children who they can fall in love with.

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It’s assumed that your son will fall in love with a girl and take a wife.  Your daughter will fall in love with a boy, get married and live happily ever after.  But why do we make these assumptions?  Because from day one, we stick the label ‘heterosexual’ on our children.  Why not just ask our children if there anyone they are romantically interested in without assigning a gender to their crush of the month?

CaptureI think we need an all inclusive label to replace the alphabet soup we currently have. Instead of LGBTQA+, how about we just stick one label on all of us that says “human who love humans”.   When our children are born, we need to stop making assumptions about their personality based on the genitalia between their legs.  Their color preference, toy choices, and love life should be an open road…not a path society chooses for them based on chromosome arrangement.

 

 

 

 

I wear many hats in this thing called life. I am a science geek, an introvert, a busy mother of teens and slightly neurotic about dirty dishes. I used to have a really important sounding job in cancer research when I decided to give it all up to be a stay at home mom. I played with Playdough, colored pictures of Barbies and freaked out when the baby ate dog food. Then the second kid came along and I started to think dog food might have nutritional value. What is Fractionated Living? It is me…divided by work, life, kids, marriage, and hobbies and trying to come up with the answer to life.

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About Diane Hoffmaster

I wear many hats in this thing called life. I am a science geek, an introvert, a busy mother of teens and slightly neurotic about dirty dishes. I used to have a really important sounding job in cancer research when I decided to give it all up to be a stay at home mom. I played with Playdough, colored pictures of Barbies and freaked out when the baby ate dog food. Then the second kid came along and I started to think dog food might have nutritional value. What is Fractionated Living? It is me…divided by work, life, kids, marriage, and hobbies and trying to come up with the answer to life.

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