I had a rough childhood. I had amazing parents who loved me, supported me, and taught me great values. I lived in a great house, always had food in my belly, I was presented with wonderful opportunities, and my parents were always in attendance in all of my sporting events. We attended church every Sunday and we were taught to love-one-another. I was very blessed. However, I really struggled with my identity. Some may have called me a "tom-boy" but that isn't a proper description. I didn't just dress like I boy, I wanted to be a boy. It wasn't just a matter of wearing "boy" clothes and wanting to play sports. I had a very difficult time accepting that I was a little girl.
I felt like there was something so wrong with me because I didn't want to be a princess. I wanted to cut my hair short, I wanted to play on the boy's soccer team, and I didn't know how to get along with other girls. I didn't have anything in common with them. I wanted my brother's friends to be my friends. I thought boys had more fun and they had way more opportunities than girls could ever dream about. The more I learned about the difference between men and women, the more I wanted to be a man. It went way beyond the obvious anatomical differences between the genders like women having to deal with periods, wear bras, be pregnant, go through labor and the expectation for women to stay at home with their children. I truly believed that women were loved less because of all of the things we had to deal with physically and it felt like women had a disadvantage in life.
My parents never taught me that men were better. My mom is a very strong and independent woman who taught me to be strong. My father respects women and he never treated me like anything less because I was a girl. I just was very observant of the world around me. Men's sports were more important, men got to do more fun activities, girls were taught to be homemakers, men made differences in this world. I heard women jokes about "staying in the kitchen" and I heard the media complaining about men making more money doing the same job as women. I was chosen last for teams at recess even though I was better than the boys. I really struggled with my identity. I struggled because I was caught in my head. I didn't like who I was, I struggled to make friends and I was bullied by others and was told I "looked like a boy and dressed like a boy." They didn't understand that I wanted to look and dress like a boy. I struggled all the way through high school.
And you know what? My parents did the best thing they could and they did absolutely nothing! They never went as far as to call me a boy and I am so glad they didn't allow me to choose my gender at such a young age. I am a grown woman now and I am very proud to be a woman. I am grateful for my place in this world. I am deeply in love with my husband and together we have four perfect children together. See, what I learned was that I needed to throw gender stereotypes out the window. When I was growing up I learned from the world around me that girls liked pink, makeup and wanted to be princesses. I learned that boys wore baggy clothes, liked sports and wanted to be professional athletes when they got older. My parents let me wear the clothes I wanted, enjoy the things I wanted and even try to compete with the boys. They loved me through it all. I am so glad that they didn't let me decide my gender when I was 5 or 6. I would have chosen to be a boy and I would have been one screwed up adult.
This may be controversial, but I don't think parents should let their children "change" their gender and "identify" before they have even hit puberty! If your son wants to wear pink, wear dresses, be in dance class and wants to be a princess, let him! He might grow out of it or he might not. Even if he tells people he is a girl, whatever. Just don't make a huge decision for them that they are now and forever will be a girl. If your daughter wants to cut her hair short, wear boy's clothes, and call herself a boy, awesome. Just let it work itself out. If she decides she actually wants to be a boy when she is older then that might be a discussion. The only reason I believe this is because if my parents would have listened to me the hundreds of times that I said I was a boy then my life would have not been as wonderful as it is right now. I know that I am going to start an argument. This is just my opinion based on my life.