My husband and I both teared up when we heard those words during an ultrasound when I was almost 20wks pregnant. I don’t know why we cried, we would have been overjoyed regardless of the gender of our baby.
And then we kept it a secret for two entire months.
The original plan was to keep it a secret until the birth. We wanted people to be excited that our baby was healthy and growing well, instead of focusing so much on the gender. We hoped to buy and potentially receive many gender-neutral items for our baby. We enjoyed keeping our little secret between the two of us.
But eventually we gave in to all of the pressure, the questions, and the badgering. We announced the gender of our baby to our family and friends at our house-warming party.
But I vowed to raise her to just be.
I am not an activist. I know very little in the way of politics or human rights. But I have very strong beliefs about the kind of person I am, and who I want my daughter to be. I believe in gender equality and try to model that in my personal life. My husband and I shared the parental leave, after having our baby, nearly 50/50. Our baby is co-parented 100%. We both work and it doesn’t matter to either of us who makes more money. I watched Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech to the UN, twice. But still, most of what I know about anything LGBT+, I learned from The Ellen Show, Caitlyn Jenner and some acquaintances and friends I’ve met over the years who haven’t been heterosexual. I’ve recently stumbled across Trans Canada (My Way) and after reading about AJ for a couple hours in reverse-chronological order I have reached the realization that I know absolutely nothing. I am a white woman in a heterosexual marriage who really has no weight in a global conversation about gender and sexuality.
But that is also exactly why I can change the world. I am a white woman in a heterosexual marriage who is openly accepting of anyone of any gender or sexual orientation. And I am raising my daughter with the hope that she can be a positive force to help build a society where ALL PEOPLE ARE ACCEPTED. Imagine if we all raised our babies like that.
We call my daughter ‘princess’ every day. She wears dresses. We speak a language (French) to her that assigns a gender to Every. Single. Freaking. Word. But I also tell her how smart she is. How strong. How brave. I dress her in clothes that make the old lady at the drug store tell me that my ‘little guy is so handsome!’ I smile, say thank you, and don’t correct her. Because it’s okay, to look like a boy. Or to look like a girl. It’s okay to act like a boy. Or act like a girl. Because all of what makes someone a boy or a girl is really just what makes us human.
And someday Emmy will tell me what she wants to wear, and it won’t matter to me what she chooses. And someday she’ll tell me she met someone, and I will say ‘I can’t wait to meet them’. And someday I hope she will realize that we loved her from the moment she was conceived – gender unknown. Future unknown. Unconditionally.
And maybe, if more and more of us can just be – be accepting. Be kind. Be caring. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. Well, maybe those who feel different or ‘other’, maybe they can start to just be, too.