Tag Archives: Trans Issues

Raising Children With A Sex Not A Gender

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I’m raising my children to know their sex, not their gender.

To explain I’ll describe what I mean by each.  Their sex is what they are.  The girls have vaginas and XX chromosomes, the boy has a penis and XY chromosomes.  Obviously there are other physiological differences but that’s the basics.

Gender is something else.  Gender is what each sex is “supposed” to be interested in, “supposed” to like, think and feel.  It’s the boys like pirates, girls like princesses, and boys like football, girls like ballet, school of thought.

So, how do I raise them with one not the other?  And why?

They need to know their sex.  There are medical issues that could come into play for one thing; they need to know their body parts in order to describe any pain or discomfort.  They need to understand the changes that they’re going to experience on their bodies, things that will happen to them because of their sex.

Whilst I definitely believe we all need to know the physiology of the opposite sex, when it’s going to happen to your own body what you learn needs to be more intense.  I’ll be teaching the girls about periods; how to use tampons or pads, what pain relief works best.  I’ll be teaching the girls about yeast infections and what to look out for, what treatment to use.  The boy needs to learn about erections and testicular pain, about his voice dropping.  These are basic simple biological differences that will manifest as they grow and experience life.

But gender is unnecessary.  And in some cases it is harmful.

There’s a flow chart floating around social media that is spectacular at explaining why children do not need gender.

IS IT OPERATED WITH GENITALS?

/                                   \

YES                                             NO

/                                                              \

THIS ISN’T FOR CHILDREN                      YOUR CHILD CAN PLAY WITH IT

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series. Rose And Mum And More Blog, Parenting Blog, Mummy Blogger

Photo credit Cheryl Holt

Nothing that children play with, watch or wear is restricted to their sex.  Absolutely nothing.  There is absolutely no reason boys can’t play with My Little Ponies, Barbies or hair dressing sets.  There is absolutely no reason girls can’t play with dinosaurs, trucks and footballs.  And when we teach them that it’s not the case problems happen.

I recently had a conversation with someone one Twitter who’s raising her little boy as female now.  I assume that doesn’t include learning about the medical reasons he needs to know about his body, I don’t suppose she’ll be teaching him about period cramps and how to get blood stains out of knickers.  She’s raising him as socially female.

She tweeted that every birthday and Christmas he asked for dolls, and every year he cried when he was bought trucks.  I asked why she couldn’t just let him play with dolls?  Why not let the kid have what he wanted?  She said because he was teased for it, made fun of, laughed at for liking girl’s toys.

She taught him that the bullies were right.  She taught him that the bullies were right and he was wrong.  That something is wrong with him.  She changed him, not the bullies.

He is now on a path.  He’s being raised as a girl now.  He’s on a path that leads children into puberty blockers, a life time of medication, hormone therapy and, if he chooses to go down that path, surgery.  Or if he’s like high profile trans child Jazz Jennings who went on puberty blockers, he’ll find that his development is so damaged that not only is he unsuitable for surgery, but he’ll also not develop fully and he’ll grow older with an infant’s penis on an adult body, with nothing anybody can do to help.

Because he wanted a Barbie.

With other parents that could be my children.  Miss Rose is not a traditionally feminine girl in a lot of ways.  She likes her hair short, she loves football.  She plays with bricks and cars and super heroes.  With different parents she could easily have been taught that they are boys toys, that there’s something wrong with her wanting those things.  The more traditionally “girly” things she enjoys could have been hyped up, she could have been forced to grow her hair long and wear frilly pink dresses.  She’d be uncomfortable, she’d feel she was wrong.  She’d be told that only girls like these, only boys like those.  But she likes those.  You can see how their little brains make that leap without any slight concept of what they’re getting into.

Gender stereotypes being imposed on children starts them on their journey to adulthood in a way that is just not healthy.  Fifty years ago that meant little girls grew up to be housewives.  They were forced to play with make up sets, ironing boards, and dolls being groomed for a life of servitude, beauty and motherhood.  Little boys were forced to play with weapons, cars and blocks, preparing them for a life of adventure, money making and dominance.

Photo credit KlimKin

We started to leave that behind.  Movements like Let Toys Be Toys highlighted that any child can play with any toy.  We’re becoming accepting of little girls who like adventure and little boys who like domesticity.  We’re moving towards embracing both facets of our personalities, little girls like Miss Rose loving toy cars and My Little Ponies without any concept that she could be wrong in doing so.

But the more tolerant we become of celebrating differences, the more intolerant we become of those who are different.

Now it’s more tolerant to believe a little boy who likes Barbie is really a girl.  It’s more tolerant to think a little girl who likes her hair short and doesn’t wear pink is really a boy.

Gender stereotyping is getting a resurgence in popularity but under a new name, and instead of those who are against gender stereotyping being the progressives, it’s those who will strictly conform to it to the point of medicating their children who are applauded.

My children will be raised to know their sex.  To know their bodies, to understand what they do and how they work, how they’ll change and what to do to be healthy.  They’ll be taught to love their bodies, respect their bodies, nurture their bodies.

My children will not be taught their gender.  They’ll never hear from us “that’s a girl’s toy” or “only boy’s wear that”, and if they hear it from others they’ll swiftly be reassured that it’s nonsense, that they’re perfect they way they are.  If they’re teased for their differences I’ll never side with their bullies.  Ever.

Femininity and masculinity are both fine.  Women and men are both fine.  Girls and boys are both fine.  It’s okay to be anywhere on the feminine to masculine scale regardless of what sex you were born.

I’m raising my children to know their sex, but not give a flying f*ck about their gender.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

What Is A Woman?

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

What is a woman?  What makes someone belong to the female of the species?

Biologically that’s easy.  A woman is someone with a vagina, a cervix, a uterus, ovaries.  But, for some, it’s not as simple as that.

According Trans rights activists, a woman is anyone who feels like a woman.  Anyone who “identifies” as a woman.  Genitals are irrelevant, it’s the person inside.  If you feel like a woman, you are a woman.

So what is a woman?

If you’re going to permit anyone who “feels” like a woman to be legally classed as a woman, you must first identify what a woman feels like.

Why?

Because once you’re legally a woman you are immediately put into spaces of vulnerability for other women.  You’re a sports coach alone with teenage girls in the showers.  You’re a support worker with female victims of rape with PTSD.  You’re taking Brownies on camping trips and sharing their tents.  You’re confined to a cell with your female cell mate, having intimate checks done by female officers.

You’re entering the tiny changing room at my gym where there are no cubicles and my little girls and I are naked and alone getting changed after swimming.

Once you’re legally a woman you are entrusted with your fellow women and girls when they’re at their most vulnerable.  And that is not a right that should be handed out lightly.  That is something you need to respect, need to understand.  It cannot simply be subjective or anyone who claims to feel like a woman can enter those spaces.  We must be able to identify what a woman is if people can legally identify as one.

We separate ourselves by sex for a reason.  Approximately 85000 women and girls are raped every year, with 31% of women experiencing sexual abuse in childhood.  These statistics are absolutely shocking and horrific.  Choosing to separate by sex is not only about comfort, as being naked and vulnerable around strange men can be uncomfortable at the best of times, even in hospital settings for instance, but it’s also a matter of safety.  Not all men are out to assault and abuse, and not all trans women are out to assault and abuse, but statistically those with a penis are more likely to abuse those without a penis.  So penis havers go to one space and vagina havers go to another out of both comfort and safety.

So what is a woman?

Photo credit Flash Buddy

Photo credit Flash Buddy

Is it FEMININITY?

Many trans-women are drawn to traditionally “feminine” things.  So, is a woman feminine by definition?

I consider myself feminine.  I like pink, and glitter, and shoes. I paint my nails and wear mascara.  I favour skirts over trousers and have been known to purchase scatter cushions.  Feminine things appeal to me, and I am a woman.

But feminine things are not exclusive to women.  There are many women who have no interest in the traditionally feminine, and there are many men who feel love it and feel far more comfortable in a pair of high heels than I do.

It is also not as simple as being a feminine or masculine woman.  Most of us are on a sliding scale that moves depending on mood, circumstances, hormone fluctuations.  We are not simply girly or not girly in our preferred style.   Being a woman is absolutely not about whether or not you prefer feminine things.

Femininity is not a requirement of womanhood and nor is it exclusive to women.  So it cannot be femininity.  And belief that it is all about feminine style is incredibly reductive.

Is it BODY SHAPE?

Are breasts and hips a requirement of a woman?  Is committing to breast implants for a womanly shape what makes you a woman?  As someone with the hips of a teenage boy and who, until I got pregnant with my latest baby, usually wears a AA cup bra, I’d like to say no!!  I am a woman but I do not have a curvy shape that one might traditionally associate with being a woman.

Feeling more comfortable with breast implants or wearing a padded bra is fine, but it cannot make you a woman or those of us with flat chests would also be discounted from the sex.

Is it SEXUALITY?

This one is obviously a big fat no.  And millions of lesbians would absolutely agree with that.

Sexuality is not defined by your sex.  Having a vagina does not mean you want to make love to a man, and vice versa.  Women are straight, gay, bisexual and, to the fury of many trans women, a lot of it does actually depend on genitals.

I have seen lesbians receive no end of abuse on Twitter and in news articles being called bigoted and transphobic because they don’t want to have sex with trans women, after all, a woman is a woman.  But if you don’t like penises then you don’t like penises and that isn’t bigotted, that’s being a lesbian.  Intimate interactions with one anothers genitals is a huge part of any sexual relationship.

So no, it is not sexuality, and the way lesbian women are being treated and abused is horrific.

Wanting to have sex with men or lesbians does not automatically make you a woman.

Is it EXPERIENCES?

Ideally we would all be completely the same and our sex, colour, race would have absolutely no impact on how we experience life, but we know that isn’t true, even if it’s something we wish was.  So it must be experiences that give us that feeling of womanhood.

There is no doubt in my mind that male privilege exists.  It is why men are less likely to be raped, hold more senior positions in business and government, and are paid more for the same job.  It is the reason men don’t have to shave their legs to be considered sexy.  It is the reason why male newscasters are old next to their sexy young, female co presenters.  It’s the reason women will have their labia and clitoris sliced off and their vaginas sewn shut.  It is the reason women are more likely to be trafficked into forced prostitution and sexual slavoury.

If you reach adulthood living as a man, you will have been experiencing patriarchal advantages your entire life.  If you reach adulthood as a woman, you’ll have been experiencing life on the other side.

It does not mean you’re unable to empathise and it doesn’t mean you won’t have had pain and sadness and abuse in your life.  It just means you’ll have had a different experience, and different societal pressures.

Is it BIOLOGY?

This is the crux of it.  If it is not your preferred style, if it is not your sexuality,is what makes a woman simply down to biology?

Other than interexed individuals which is a rare, women are XX chromosomes, men are XY chromosomes.  Women have vaginas, men have penises.  Women have ovaries, men have testicles.  Women have more oestrogen, men have more testosterone.

The Rapractice

The Rapractice

Within those biological frames we have our brains giving us experiences, preferences, pleasures and pains.  And there will be those on both sexes that are extremes towards feminine and masculine.

There should be nothing wrong with a man being feminine and a woman being masculine, and there should be no way anyone on those spectrums should be treated without respect and equality.  But being automatically considered a woman?

 

I do not believe all people who identify as trans are a threat, but I fear the increasing push to accept anyone’s version of transgenderism is.  We are being forced to accept men proclaiming themselves to be women with no real understanding of what it is to be a woman, and demanding access to our lives by reducing our entire sex to feelings when being a woman is about so much more.  It’s about your life, your body, your self.  It is incredibly complex and it is varied and it is full.

My belief is this.  We cannot simply allow men to self identify as women and be granted access to women’s spaces.  We cannot reduce an entire sex to “lady brain” when clearly there is no such thing or we’d all have it.  We cannot force women to either accept that  some penises are female penises and that their attached man means us no harm when walking around naked in our changing rooms or trying to bully lesbians into having sex with them.

Define what it is to be a woman.

Identify what it is to be a woman before you allow people to identify as a woman.  And if someone doesn’t meet those parameters then respect existing women enough not to reduce who they are to a preference for pink or a fetish for lesbians.  Because a woman is so much more.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Why Gender Stereotyping Kids Matters

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I had an argument on Twitter today.  It was over a new advert for Smyth’s toy shop.  In the advert a little boy is shown playing with toys from various scenarios, including one where he’s in a princess dress.

To me, and many others, this was an awesome step.  The little boy wasn’t shown to be a freak or wrong or weird, he simply played with a racing car, a suit of armour, and a princess dress in an advert that made playing with toys of all kinds completely normal.  I approve whole heartedly.

Others disagreed, many quite strongly and with venom (one so full of hatred that he called my children bastards).

I’m going to look at some of those arguments against that advert, and why I am so very much in favour of this advert and others like it, and why exactly gender stereotyping children matters so very much.

Can you believe women in the Middle East think they’re oppressed? Try dealing with stereotypes… That’s real oppression.”

This is an argument I have seen time and time again when any western woman discusses an issue.  Others have it worse.

There is no doubt that in comparison to issues such as FGM and the oppressive patriarchy of places such as Saudi are far more damaging and oppressive than the gender stereotypes in children’s toys.  Nobody denies that.  But one issue being worse doesn’t mean another is suddenly irrelevant.

Gender norms are oppressive to both men and women, teaching us that something is fundamentally “wrong” wish us if we don’t naturally conform.  Little boys who like to wear princess dresses are either forced out of it  and made to feel like they’re doing something wrong, or told they’re like little girls, instead of just being okay with the fact that sometimes they wear princess dresses.  Little girls are taught they should be princesses and girly girls instead of being able to have adventures and do brave things, thus continuing the social structure that keeps women down.

 

yeah, this is pretty gay.”

Where do I start?  Firstly, using “gay” as an insult is horrible, it implies there is something wrong with being homosexual, but there isn’t.  Secondly, the little boy’s sexuality is irrelevant to the advert and, quite frankly, I’d suggest it is inappropriate to think about.  Thirdly, a child playing with toys across the gender stereotyping spectrum means nothing about their future sexuality.  It is exactly this kind of nonsense that is why making it socially acceptable for children to play with everything is so important.

Stereotypes aren’t oppressing anyone. Cut the victim complex”

Gender stereotyping oppresses anyone who doesn’t naturally conform to the stereotype.  You either have to fit in or fuck off.  Learn to fake your identity because the person you are is wrong, or live as an outsider, isolated from the community you exist in.

Gender stereotypes breed toxic masculinity and oppressive femininity.  And nobody benefits from either of those.  It starts when they’re little.  When girls wear pink and boys wear blue.  When girls play with kitchens and Barbies, and boys play with rockets and cars.  These are the things you like.  Home and clothes for little girls, adventures for little boys.

It’s not a victim complex, it’s a social awareness.  It’s saying that no it’s not the biggest issue in the world but it is an issue.  It leads to self doubt, self loathing and identity confusion.  It leads little boys to think they must really be girls because they like dolls, and little girls to think they must really be boys because they like trains.

Gender stereotyping is toxic.  And we imprint it on our children when they’re too  young to be socially aware enough to fight it, and teach them that if they don’t fit in there’s something wrong with them and they need to be changed some how.

When we accept that toys are toys and clothes are clothes, and we don’t force boys to shop in the girls section and girls to shop in the boys section, thus labelling themselves as different ad weird, and just allow everyone to play with and wear everything they feel happy with then we will put an end to it.

Unless it is controlled by your genitals, it has no need for a gender specific label.  And nothing designed for children should be controlled by your genitals.

When it’s impacting children it’s easy to dismiss it as a serious issue, easy to tell people to focus on something else.  But follow the trail.   Watch the children forced into gender roles, or forced to believe they’re faulty.  See the trail of destruction through into adulthood and then decide whether it’s an issue worth addressing.

We’re making huge progress in equality, huge progress in social acceptance.  Don’t derail it now.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!