What’s the difference between sex and gender?
Even people who are very savvy about matters of sexuality may not be so sure of this one, but according to Medical News Today, sex consists of your physiological traits and body parts –male or female– while gender “refers to behaviors, roles, expectations and activities in society.”
Knowing that, consider the story of little Sasha Laxton, whose parents, Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper, kept the child’s sex –he’s a boy– a secret from most people. The parents used gender-neutral pronouns to describe him, painted his room yellow, encouraged him to play with all kinds of toys and let him wear whatever hand-me-downs came to him despite the gender persuasion they represent, reports Megan Gibson of Time magazine’s News Feed. His mom said “We don’t make Sasha go out in girls clothes. We’re not forcing it.”
Ever since Sasha’s entry into primary school, and his parents’ decision to raise him gender-neutral has come to light, Gibson reports, everyone seems to have something to say about it, including the extreme that Sasha “be taken into child services.” Gibson points out that unorthodox parenting tactics always cause a stir and that “people who have come to question their gender identity were raised among the very stereotypes that Sasha has been shielded from.”
So what’s the big deal?
If Sasha is healthy, happy and developing well, the big deal would seem to be in the eye of the beholders. Honestly, it sounds like the child is actually being less coerced than boys who pick up a doll and are told “Boys don’t play with dolls!” Gibson concludes that if anything would make Sasha feel ostracized, it’s more likely to be the treatment he gets from outsiders for “being raised differently,” than the way he’s being raised.
So, what do you think? What’s the big deal? Or is there one?