The Kids (I Hope) Are Alright
Let kids be kids, damn it
This one is a lot longer than my usual queer ponderings, because it’s to do with children. My children in my life, specifically. Because the babies are the future.
I have several nieces and nephews — who I call nieflings because of the eldest who said she liked the way that one sounded better than niblings. I am a co-parent to one — who I often call Kiddo when writing about him, used to call him Wee One, but he is not so wee anymore lolsob. I also am an auntie to two more kiddos who are not related by blood or marriage, but by choice — their mom/my bestie said it’s okay, I didn’t just adopt these kids.
And when I think of the future of queerness, I think of all of them. Because I am — along with the parentals (for the most part) — are trying really hard to not enforce gender roles, stereotypes, and trying to be as queer normative as possible. My sister and brother in law — to my knowledge — are the only ones who are not queer, but even then are unlearning and trying to break the ideas of gender roles.
(I will call the kids by their middle names here for privacy reasons on these next examples).
Ellis loved to wear dresses and head bands at 2 years old. At 5 years old, he loves bright colored and fitted clothing, getting his nails painted with his sister, and wearing glitter when he can. He loves playing with baby dolls and Barbies and action figures. When he gets older he wants to grow his hair out like Thor. But he thinks it might be hard for baseball, which fair. He also likes his gymnastics and parkour (don’t know the real word for it) classes.
Elizabeth loved all toys as a toddler. Legos, baby dolls, puzzles. But she much preferred and still prefers to read or play video games. At 5 or 6 years old, when I told her I’m not a girl or a boy, she said “we can be whatever we want?” and when I told her yes, she said, well I am a princess. She loves ballet and dance, and I think she’s thinking about a sport when she’s older too.
Lyn(n? Oh my gosh I don’t know how to spell her middle name?!) is the brightest ball of sunshine who could not give any fucks about what she should or should not do. She loves to wear dresses, she loves to steal Ellis’ clothes, and wear her dad’s hats. She likes to say she’s a kid or a big kid. Sometimes she’ll say girl but more often than not, it’s just kid. This bundle of fire also loves baseball, football, soccer, ballet, gymnastics. All the ways to move, she wants to do it. She’s going to be 3 this year and I cannot wait to see what else she wants to explore.
Kiddo has never had a hair cut. His long curls are adorable and he’s recently let us put it up in buns and ponytails. He has no sense of style unless diapers count because he hates clothes lolsob. But he is living in the most queer household. He has a mum, dad, papa, and aunt Ashley. And siblings who are very queer. Kiddo loves to be outside, play games on his tablet or his parent’s Nintendo Switch, and read or play with his toys. Again, not giving any fucks about what he should or should not do.
So it’s frustrating to me when adults think that letting kids explore and play with clothes and select toys and movies etc. outside of “the norm” is harmful. Because it’s not. These kiddos are (generally) really happy and excited to just exist as they are, without having to conform to expectations. As an aside, it’s when they are FORCED to conform their appearance or mannerisms to be “the norm” that they tend to get upset.
I love my babies so much. And I just want them to always feel safe and unafraid of being who they are, not matter how often it changes or is explored, because that’s part of the living experience. Evolving.