Yep, I’m going there. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the issue of raising a child without gender bias has been steadily growing over the past several years. Basically, it means that you allow your child to be what they want to be – whether that is a girl or a boy. For instance, there are some schools that allow children to go to whichever bathroom they feel like they can best identify with. This has become quite the controversial issue as of late, and I see more and more articles posted about parents who want to raise their children to be gender neutral. Some parents even refuse to reveal their child’s gender identity to the public until the child is old enough to decide what gender they want to be for themselves. I have thought about this a good deal, and I wanted to share in writing my beliefs on this topic.
First of all, let me start out by saying that while I am a Christian, and I do have a Christ-centered viewpoint on this issue, I do not write this blog as a way to throw judgment on parents who believe differently.
Secondly, I do want to clarify a few things before I get too much on top of my soap box and loose you completely!
- I don’t have any real problem with a child wanting to play with toys that are generally associated with other genders. I am 100% all for the little girl that loves Lego’s or dinosaurs or trucks, or the little boy that likes to play house or play with dolls. They are toys, meant to spark imagination and teach kids about how to live in the grown up world. There is nothing inherently evil about that – a thing in and of itself cannot be evil.
- I don’t have any problem with a girl wanting to wear clothes with dinosaurs on them, or a boy who decides he wants to wear pink shoes (these are merely a few examples).
- I don’t have ANY problem what-so-ever with a little girl who wants to grow up and become an engineer, a nuclear scientist, or president! I don’t have ANY problem with a boy who wants to be an artist, a fashion designer, a nurse, or a hair stylist (again, these are merely a few examples).
- I DO NOT have children, but that does not mean that I know nothing about children. I have a degree in Art Education K-12, I have taken multiple classes on child behavior as well as seen and worked with that behavior in action in my student teaching. I have babysat children of multiple ages, I have worked in my church nursery since I was in middle school, and I now substitute teach at an elementary school. I want to be a parent in the next several years, and I do have a knowledgeable opinion on this subject.
Thirdly, you are more than welcome to disagree with my point of view. This blog is all about my point of view, and I don’t expect everyone else to share it. If I did, I wouldn’t really need to write a blog post about it. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts with me, but I expect you to do so in a respectful way – just as I have tried to write this blog post in a respectful way. I do hope that you will think through what I have carefully written out in this post, just as I have thought through what others have carefully written out in their blog posts on the opposing opinion.
With those things being said, let me begin to explain what I DO believe about this issue, based on what God has told me.
- Gender is not debatable. I don’t believe that gender is something we get to decide. It is a choice that is made for us before we are born, and it’s a good and perfect choice. Is it crazy for me to say that I believe there is a reason and a purpose that I was born with the anatomy that I have? I don’t think so. There are a lot of assumptions that are made when we make statements like, “I was born into the wrong body.” You assume that you know more than God – you are assuming that you know the plans for your own life, and you are 100% sure that God made a mistake when he formed you in your mother’s womb. There is this whole idea of gender identity, which to me boils down to something quite simple – You proclaim that you are whoever you want to be, not who God made you be.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. – Deuteronomy 32:4
- I believe in raising my children to be Godly men and women. Gasp! How dare I say that I want my child to become a certain way. Am I not stifling their individuality? What about creativity and allowing children to develop into their own person?
The notion that you can effectively raise a child to become their own person without any influence from you as the parent is preposterous.
Yes, I just said that. And I hope that you will stop, go back, and read that sentence again and let it sink in. The whole point of raising a child is to influence them. Otherwise we could just put them in a box and drop them off in the middle of the jungle and call it quits. That’s what many animals do in the wild! We are created differently than animals for a reason, and we are supposed to tell our children about our beliefs and share our thoughts with them. Of course I don’t want my future child to become a copy of me. I want them to have their own interests, and even their own individual thoughts that might differ from mine. I want them to be their own person, and to be able to stand up against the world when they are old enough to leave my house. If I have a little girl that loves sports (when I really have no idea what’s going on at all in ANY sport), that is fine by me. But I would be lying if I said I hoped I would not influence their belief system. It would break my heart to have a child who grew up to believe that they had to work to achieve God’s grace, or who believed that Jesus was only a prophet – not the Son of God. Whether you want to or not, you influence your children every single day. If you are a gender neutral parent, then you are influencing your child in those thoughts and ways of life too.
So with that being said, what kind of person DO I want children to become? I want my future daughter to one day be a loving wife to a husband, a man. And I want my future son to one day become a loving husband to a wife, a woman.
- I believe that homosexuality is wrong. HEAR ME – I did not say that I hate gay men or lesbian women. I did not say that it is okay to persecute gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender. What I am saying is that I don’t agree with this lifestyle, and I cannot in good conscience, allow my children to live it.
In the world we live in today, I know that I’m not supposed to say this. I am supposed to be tolerant and accepting. But… Jesus was not tolerant or accepting of sin. He called people out, made them uncomfortable, he lost friends and followers, and HE DIED because people hated him so much for his beliefs. He was killed so that I could be free of my own sins – and I will not compromise what I believe and pretend that I’m okay with something that I believe is wrong. But wait, isn’t Jesus supposed to love everyone? Yes, and he does. In fact, his love for us is the very reason he is so intolerant of our sin. He loves us so much that he wants us to be free, and he wants good things for us. This is why he can’t stand it when we do things that tear us away from him.
This is not the time where I will explain why I believe homosexuality is wrong – in this post it is enough for me to say that I do believe it is wrong. It is no less and no more wrong than lying or stealing or cheating – in God’s eyes sin is sin. All sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
What does homosexuality have to do with raising a gender neutral child? If I believe that homosexuality is wrong and my goal is to raise my children to become loving husbands and wives, how can I teach them that it’s okay for them to choose their gender? If they think that it’s right for them to choose their gender, then there is nothing wrong getting to choose the gender of the person that they decide to love. Both things are wrong, and lead to a lifestyle of believing that God makes mistakes and his ways are not perfect.
In the same way that I don’t want my children to grow up to think that stealing is okay, I don’t want them to believe that homosexuality is okay. I will reiterate my earlier statement: I want my children to know that God had a purpose in creating them, and that he did not make a mistake in any aspect of their creation.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
I have many more thoughts on this topic, but to write them all out would take much more space and time than I am sure you would indulge me.