Recently, I came across an article that left me with mixed feelings. After those feelings diminished after a few seconds, it was safe to say I was ashamed of myself for ever doubting the parent that the article focuses on. The title read ‘Canadian trans parents fighting to keep child’s gender off the cards’, which sounds fairly vague. Kori Doty, a Canadian transgender parent, feels that keeping their baby’s gender off their medical care card is a ‘small win’, and rightly so. The child is theirs. Therefore, this is their choice. What most people commenting angrily on Facebook cannot seem to wrap their heads around is the fact that people parent in different ways; there is not just one set of rules.
Doty is non-binary, meaning that they do not identify as male or female, and they want their child to have the same choice in life. Personally, I can see where they are coming from. If a child grows up as a boy or a girl and then, at some point, begins to feel that they do not conform to that set gender, surely only stress and turmoil will follow. This is the reality for millions of trans children that are forced into a box of rules created by society over time, as they eventually realise that they do not like what they are told they should like. Doty should not be persecuted for wanting to potentially save their child from this traumatic experience. Doty went on to say that they ‘don’t want to put them in a box where they only get to wear pink ruffled or wear blue and play with trucks’ and that ‘I’m trying to leave that space open so that they can say who they are themselves.’ What about this are people finding so offensive?
It does seem that when people are faced with something so progressive and groundbreaking, it makes them fearful for the change. This is understandable, to an extent, as it can very often lead to people becoming abusive. People have challenged Doty and stated that they are ‘damaging their child’ by not stating their sex. But, how could this possibly be damaging to let a child decide what they want to be when they are old enough? What your sex is is not important, and teaching somebody that from the word go would give them an open and refreshing outlook on life.
Doty, currently living in British Columbia, is one of 8 trans individuals who have filed human rights complaints against their home province. As Doty will not confirm the child’s sex, they can not be issued a birth certificate, meaning that they are not legally a citizen. As many as 40% of transgender people in the US have attempted suicide and, for Doty, the stakes were just too high to sit back and do nothing. Let’s hope that people can drag themselves into 2017 soon.
Photo: The Guardian