We are born without gills – does that mean we shouldn’t have built submarines, or invented scuba and snorkelling gear to explore under the water?
We are born without wings – does that mean we shouldn’t have built aeroplanes to fly?
We are captives of the gravity of the earth – does that mean we shouldn’t have built rockets and walked on the moon, or aim for the distant stars?
We are born female or male, or on some occasions somewhere in-between, and over human history society placed gender roles on us that have come to define us – but with society having evolved to the point where we can shed those gender roles, shouldn’t we be able to test what we are truly capable of, free of those artificial, culturally and socially imposed boundaries?
Of course we still live in a society where a destructive minority refuses to accept even the existence of transgender, intersex, or homosexual people, and is fighting an imaginary gender ‘culture war’ to fight back against what they perceive to be the erosion of the ‘natural order.’
The gender ‘culture war’ has flared up recently across the Western world, but particularly in the United States, with strong and misguided, and sometimes ignorant and hateful, opposition to:
- transgender people using the bathroom of the gender they are transitioning to, including transgender youth at schools; and
- toy manufacturers and toy stores looking at removing gender guidance from toys.
Let’s clarify a couple of things:
- there is scientific consensus transgender people exist, and they desire and need love and support like other members of the community; and
- there is general agreement among experts that children benefit from, and are empowered by, gender neutral toys.
I am not a fan of the TV show ‘The Doctors,’ especially after seeing a 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal, which determined 38% of medical advice offered on the show was not supported by scientific research.
However, the show was recently the scene of two dads battling out the two sides of the gender neutral toys argument.
Both dads came to public attention with their respective viral YouTube videos:
- one, award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer Mikki Willis, supporting his son’s choice to pick out a Little Mermaid doll at the toy store;
- the other, Christian evangelist Joshua Feuerstein, unsurprisingly more conservative when it comes to enforcing traditional gender roles, responding to Mr Willis’ video.
I found Mr Feuerstein to represent pretty much everything that’s wrong with humanity, and feel sad knowing children are exposed and ‘moulded’ to his worldview. Judging by the reaction from the audience, I am not alone in my thinking.
But you should judge for yourself as to which of these two gentlemen has the better grip on raising children.