Friday, April 1, 2016

Is it a boy? Is it a girl?

"I can't believe my baby's having a baby," the post-midlife man said, hugging his daughter, careful not to smush the extended belly she proudly displayed with a stretchy top that clung to her middle like a girdle.

She patted her bulge and smiled. "I believe I am, Dad." 

"And you're going to find out the sex today? I'm so excited."

"I had the sonogram this morning, Dad, but we're not finding out the baby's gender yet — and, by the way, the preferred term is gender, not sex."

"What? Why not. Was there anything wrong on the sonogram?"

"No. Everything's fine. I've got the sonogram photo right here." She handed over the shadowy 8x10 photo to her father. "We just don't know what his/her gender is yet. Nobody does. Nobody will for a while. We don't know what gender he/she will identify with until he/she is much older. We just have to be patient."

Looking confused, Dad looked at the sonogram. Every sonogram he'd ever seen, which weren't many, looked more like a Rorschach test than a fetus. This time, though, he saw something interesting. He held the paper so the lighting was right, he adjusted his bifocals, and excitement brightened his face. "What's this right here," he said, pointing at the center of the sonogram. "Isn't that a penis?"

His pregnant daughter looked. "Might be, but it doesn't matter. Your gender isn't determined by what's between your legs; it's determined by what's in your brain and in your heart."

"But this baby is obviously a boy, a male!" He had been hoping for a boy, a grandson with whom he'd share sports and camping.

"We don't know that, Dad. Gender is not a physical thing. It's a mental thing. Your body might say one thing, but your heart says another. It would be cruel of us to jump to the conclusion that he/she is one gender or another based on physical evidence. He/she has a right to choose, a right to identify with the gender that is in his/her heart and soul."

"So what are you going to do? Paint the nursery half pink and half blue?"

"Actually, we were thinking of green. We don't want to put any pressure on the child to follow one path or another. His/her decision will be his/hers alone, and we will accept and celebrate his/her decision."

"Well, when will I find out whether I have a grandson or a granddaughter?"

"I'd give it 12 years at least. Maybe longer."

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