I have a three year old child who has a male body.
He* has also recently become very assertive that he’s not always a boy. He says that sometimes he’s a boy, sometimes he’s a girl and sometimes he’s what he terms a “girlboy”. When he tells us this we just smile and say “okay” and use the correct terms depending on what he is that day.
This has been going on for three months. It’s gotten to the point where he has asked me to tell his teachers because he doesn’t like being called a boy on days when he isn’t.
Now here’s my beef. I told the school, I also informed the health visitors about this because I want them to address my child appropriately as I do not want him distressed.
Their first reaction was to reassure me that “it’s just a phase.” and “he’ll grow out of it.” and that I “didn’t need to be concerned.” Now, I’ve done my research. He might grow out of it, he is just a few months from four and has an active imagination so yeah it might be a phase. However, it also might not. There are a lot of transgender/genderfluid people who know from as young as 2/3. There is a chance my child is genderfluid, and I am frankly insulted that these people would assume that I’m “concerned.”
My only “concern” is that my child feels loved and safe. I only broached it to the school because he expressed unhappiness at being called a boy on days he’s a girl. I have asked that they simply avoid using words like boy in relation to him.
Also I resent the implication that I need reassurance. My child may be genderfluid or transgender. He may not be, but it most definitely about him, not me. Also even if it is a phase right now? It’s reality to my child. To him it’s a fact that today he is a girl and tomorrow he might be both. Children believe with all the conviction we wish we had.
For example I believed, for years, that this world was not real. I believed that we were all characters in a story book and that if I did not turn the page at least once a day the book would close and reality would cease to exist. This wasn’t lighthearted play this was reality for me and I saved our asses everyday. I didn’t bother to explain this to anyone because they were fictional and I was the only one who knew the truth.
I remember how deeply I believed that and how much conviction I had that it was fact. So yes my child may someday realise he’s a boy (or a girl), and hey, may not. But right now? He believes he is a boy sometimes, a girl sometimes and a girlboy sometimes. So I will make him feel safe and supported so that whoever he grows up to be is a person who knows his parents love him and will always be there.
(Editorial: I kinda get that some parents would be freaked but am profoundly annoyed about the language on even the NHS has that amounts to “Oh, poor parent it’s not your fault.” because yeech. That makes it sound like its something they should be ashamed of, when it’s totally not.)
*Note on pronouns. Because I don’t know who my child will end up being I am avoiding terms like “son”, I do use male pronouns but that’s because that is the only pronoun he uses at the moment.