Pirates & Princesses
This morning I woke to hear the news that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury had issued transgender guidlines from the Church Of England to UK Primary schools, saying that that pupils should be free to explore "who they might be". I was so very encouraged by this and is something that I've been blahhhhhing on about to whom ever will listen for years now.
Not just about general tolerance and support for people who experience any gender hurdles & challenges (which should be a given).. but that at Primary age, NOT easing these historically, ludicrous gender polarities, I believe, creates enormous unhappiness and feelings of isolation and can cause confusion where really, for us at least, there was none.
I know this is tricky territory but, as all our friends know, I speak from a point of some experience having a wee boy who frankly laughs in the face of any label or box society might try and squish him in to. He's simply not having it and long may that continue. Can I say, that for those individuals who do face transition and those massively difficult physical and emotional waters .. we owe you all the most sensitive support and care society can offer. It's complicated and emotional and involves many people, over many years of support and advise and is not be underestimated.
For us though, it looks like it's not a path that we will all have to navigate, although a few years ago, we did wonder. You see when you're told from the moment you can hear, that blue is for boys and pink is for girls; that football is for boys and dancing is for girls; that breaking things is for boys and making things is for girls and that a short back and sides is for boys and pony tails are strictly for girls ... you can't really blame a 6 year old who likes pink, dancing, making things and long hair, for thinking that really he ought to 'be' a girl, in order to have and enjoy all the things he loves.
Never mind that the fashion industry is still soaked in and led by brilliantly creative men and that Britain's favourite past times, the Bake Off and the Dance Off are presented by and often characterised by men, and not just Gay men; that many of history's greatest Ballet stars were men and still are. It's just nonsense ! I was even asked by a parent a while back when told that our son was a keen gymnast .. 'Gosh, isn't that mainly a girls sport' ? FFS .. watch the Olympics much ?
You see my point ... as adults, it barely registers what colours we wear, how long our hair is and what career path we choose and yet, at the point when it should matter absolutely the least, it seems to matter the most. And for those kids who don't fit in to any of our lazy, unimaginative, intolerant, damn boxes, it creates confusion in some cases, not all, where there is none.
So, huge respect goes to Justin Welby this morning and I sincerely hope that in Primary schools throughout the UK, on your next Pirates & Princesses dress up day, that the boys who choose to go in sparkles and tiaras have as much fun as undoubtedly, the many girls who will go as Captain Jack Sparrow.