It’s fair to say we live in an era where things aren’t as black and white as they used to be. Times are changing, perhaps more so over the past few years, and the traditions of the past are no more in many cases.
One of the biggest topics of conversations when it comes to human rights is the case of people identifying as gender-fluid. The term is used to define someone who doesn’t identify as either a male or a female, but rather someone who can pick and choose which gender they want to be at any given time. It doesn’t make that person gay or transgender and instead raises questions of whether people should be able to pick and choose their gender identity when it suits them.
A recent article published in Pop Sugar claimed more young people are embracing these kinds of identities than ever before. As society becomes more accepting of people who are ‘different’, many are feeling increasingly comfortable to step away from traditional social constraints and dabble in things Baby Boomers probably couldn’t when they were growing up.
An artist known as Illma Gore explained to Pop Sugar that gender-identity was more than the sex you were born with. “Gender is actually more of a spectrum. Yes, you might be built with XX chromosomes or XY chromosomes, but being a man or a woman is separate from that,” Gore explained. “’Man’ or ‘woman’ is something that is, in a sense, a social construct. Those are words that we use to describe differences that we stereotype.”
For the next generation, it raises questions around whether children should be able to make up their own mind when it comes to their gender-identity, or if people have a responsibility to guide their children down a traditional path.
One father who let his child decide what he wanted to be for Halloween was recently praised on the internet. Paul Henson, from Virginia, America, shared a photo on Facebook of his son dressed as Elsa from the animated Disney film, Frozen.
“Anyone that knows us, knows we generally let Caiden make his own choices, to an extent,” Paul Henson wrote. “Well, he has decided on a Halloween costume. He wants to be Elsa. He also wants me to be Anna. Game on. Keep your masculine bulls*** and slutty kids costumes, Halloween is about children pretending to be their favourite characters. Just so happens, this week his a princess [sic].”
A Target store in Australia came under fire just last year when it tried to market a toy to girls in a pink box, while the boy’s version came in a blue. Furious shoppers blasted the department store for their labelling and vented their frustration that the girls toy was a beauty studio, while the boys toy was a doctor kit.
“Make sure those girls know their place in the world asap heh @Targetaus?” the shopper said in a tweet. “What an absolute crock!”
Even celebrities are pushing for children to be raised gender-neutral. Singer Pink, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore, recently revealed she doesn’t raise her two children with the sex that they were born. Instead, she lets them make their own choices. She added that she was all for schools and public places making bathrooms and toilets accessible to everyone – regardless of gender.
“I was in a school and the bathroom outside the kindergarten said: ‘Gender Neutral – anybody’, and it was a drawing of many different shapes,” she explained to People Magazine. “I took a picture of it and wrote ‘Progress’. I thought that was so awesome. I love that kids are having this conversation.”
Meanwhile, gay actor Sir Ian KcKellen suggested that young people didn’t want to be labelled. Having been put in a box his whole career, he explained that things are changing. “I think the future is, as it was expressed to me by a couple of sixth form girls the other day, they don’t want labels,” Independent reports the 78-year-old telling BBC Radio 4’s show. “They don’t want to be labelled lesbian, they don’t want to be labelled bisexual, they don’t want to be labelled anything … fluidity is the future.”
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