Parents always know the "where do babies come from" question will hit us someday and hopefully we all figure out how we will deal with it when that question comes up.
Sex is an uncomfortable subject for most parents to figure out. There are so many sides to that question that don't just include the scientific explanation to it. Sexuality is another side of that question but at least for my family it was easily dealt with. We are raising our daughter to understand and accept all. She loves her gay uncles and understand that even though they are both boys they are just like mommy and daddy when it comes to love. It was an easy lesson that she seemed to get. It also helped that she has some friends with two mommys and it is something here in our town is out in the open thankfully.
But with the South African runner, Caster Semenya, I realized there is a tougher question, gender. What makes us a boy or a girl or more importantly what are we when we are in between. This is a question that I am baffled by.
When I was only a month along in my pregnancy my brother reminded me that I could have something in between a boy and girl. I blew it off, I knew of hermaphrodites but figured I wouldn't have to worry about it. And when I had a little girl I figured the idea of dealing with hermaphrodites was one more thing I didn't have to worry about.
Now I wonder how will I teach my child about gender. What makes her a girl? I know it can't be as easy as her genitals and hormones. It can't be her uterus or overies, I know many women who don't have those. External organs are all in the same category. We have horrible things being done all over this world to little girls removing parts of external organs that can't be what makes us girls. She watched me go through hormone treatment for endometriosis and my female hormones were essentially turned off that didn't make me any less a girl.
Is it what we are born with? Because if that is the case I know a lot of kids who were born blonde with blue eyes but are now have brown eyes and dark hair. I can't except that logic.
And of course there comes in transsexuals which I believe very strongly in my support of the trans community and the idea that the mind and the body can be at odds. In that case I always am under the idea of it is what you feel inside is what you should be referred to. When my daughter meant a wonderful young transexual at a conference for our zine my daughter asked if she was a boy or girl. I told her she was a girl who had to fix her body to match her mind, like how I have to wear glasses because my eyes weren't how my mind needed them to see her body wasn't made how her mind needed it to be. I told her sometimes when mommys make babies we don't do everything right and that is ok, mommys aren't perfect at everything.
Caster says she is a girl so my first thought is to have the same response as above. She feels she is a girl so there for she is a girl and that is the end of the subject. But then I wonder do all hermaphrodites feel one more than the other? Should they have to choose between these two boxes? I know I am in no position to answer those questions. I don't think anyone person could. When is it important to put these boxes around our gender? Why do we identify as one or the other? My view of love don't require it. Not all man and women are able to have children as it is so that doesn't require it. So why do we identify as one or the other. I always saw myself as a strong women and looked for women role models more than male. I feel a kingship to women and that we are in a sisterhood. I would feel so lost if I found out that I wasn't truly a women in the world eyes. There is so few things in this world I feel a strong connection to but womenhood is one I would be devastated if I couldn't feel apart of. As a women and a mother I want to let Caster stay apart of my sisterhood no questions asked. But maybe with all the women I look up to for strength she is that for those who are in between.
Perhaps she can be both why should I put her in a box?
At this point I will just have to wait to see if this question comes up with my daughter. I just hope that when it does come up she can be as understanding as I wish the rest of the world can be of Caster at this time and let her be what she feels she is and not push her into a box.