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Gender identity is making headlines again. First, it was the 4-year-old boy whose penchant for tutus and tiaras sparked a new career path for his mom. Her book My Princess Boy — arguing that her son didn’t need to change, but the rest of the world did — rocketed mother and son to talk-show-circuit fame, where hosts vied for the cutting edge of acceptance and “celebration.”
In May we learned of a Canadian couple who announced their new baby thus:
“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”
Storm’s two preschool brothers — Jazz and Kio — have enjoyed lots of latitude when it comes to gender roles. Both typically forego haircuts and dress as girls. They know but aren’t telling whether they have a sister or brother.
If you are of a certain age, chances are you never heard the terms gender-bending or gender-creativity when you were growing up. Boys were boys and girls were girls and life was just that simple and straightforward. Now push-the-envelope media wage war against those still bound by such “harmful” traditions. To protect some from bullying, schools have bullied others whose belief that “male and female He created them” is seen as intolerance.
No wonder we’re confused. A mom hip to “The Today Show’s” PC doctrine won’t think twice when her own son puts on a tiara and tutu. She learned from Princess Boy’s mom that she should accept and affirm his choice. Then check with the school to make sure they’ve read the book to all the classes.
In today’s culture, this is what passes for unconditional love: freedom, acceptance, affirmation. But would unconditional love push a child down a path that could lead to a lifetime of confusion and despair rather than getting him the help he needs to grow and thrive as a man — the man God created him to be?
On the Culture of Life Foundation website, Drs. Richard P. Fitzgibbons and Joseph Nicolosi write: “Today many adults try very hard not to impose rigid gender stereotypes on young children, but this push for gender openness can lead parents to ignore the symptoms of gender identity conflict.”
Insisting that gender confusion is not just a phase, they warn that preschool boys who exhibit these symptoms “are more likely to be unhappy, lonely and isolated in elementary school; to suffer from separation anxiety, depression, and behavior problems; to be victimized by bullies and targeted by pedophiles; and to experience same-sex attraction in adolescence.”
But there is hope.
“The good news is that if the gender identity problems are identified and addressed and if both parents cooperate in the solution, especially fathers, many of the negative outcomes can be prevented.”
And that hope offers freedom without squashing the child’s individuality:
“Boys and girls with gender identity problems are not freely experimenting with gender atypical activities. They are constrained by deep insecurities and fears and are reacting against the reality of their own sexual identity, usually as a result of failing to experience love and acceptance from the parent of the same sex or same sex peers. Therapy is not directed toward forcing a sensitive or artistic boy to become a macho-sports fanatic, but helping a boy to grow in confidence and be happy he is a boy.”
Freedom in Christ means freedom from bondage to socially sanctioned but unhealthy dysfunction. More than mindless affirmation, children suffering from gender confusion need parents whose unconditional love means they are willing to go against the flow to get them the help they need.
Curtis, who blogs at mommylife.net, is a mother of 12 and author from Bluemont.
Find out more
Read “Gender Identity Disorder in Children” on the Culture of Life Foundation website at culture-of-life.org.