By Cecily, Philadelphia Moms Blog
Lately my daughter, who is slightly over three (but not quite three and a half), has been making all kinds of blanket, wide-reaching statements about all things gender related. “Boys can’t wear pink!” “I can’t use that nail file, it’s for boys!” Oddly enough, she doesn’t limit what girls can do as much as she restricts boys. In other words, both she and boys can play with trucks, but boys aren’t allowed to wear dresses.
While I acknowledge that much of this is developmental — kids this age are inclined to put everything, including gender, into nice neat little boxes — I still want to talk to her about gender stuff, just as much as I want to challenge her on issues of race, size, age and pretty much anything. Being the good, uber-liberal parent that I am, I figured the best way to address this sort of gender thing is head on — so on Sunday, Oct. 11, my daughter and I headed down to the Gayborhood (a term the area wears proudly, not one I’ve assigned) for the largest celebration of National Coming Out Day in the country (although this year was a bit smaller thanks to the massive march in Washington, D.C., on the same day), OutFest Philly.
Not only was it a complete blast, as any festival is, it presented plenty of opportunities for my daughter and I to discuss various gender assumptions she’s made. Some lovely young women with shorn heads agreed to talk with me and my daughter about how women don’t have to always have long hair. Some, uh, attractive ladies dressed to the nines were happy to have my daughter call them “princesses” and discuss how not only girls get to dress up in sparkles and glitter and with, you know, cleavage.
We also got to see some musicians perform, watch the high heels race, see some rainbow colored poodles, and charm everyone who saw her. I’d worried that the event was going to be a bit too “adult” for her, but we managed to avoid certain things like the, er, interestingly shaped bagel eating contest. Toward the end of the day there were definitely some issues with people being inebriated, so we left before it got too messy.
Overall, it was a great time, and I think my daughter learned a lot. We had a lovely day together, got to support the rights of our neighbors. It was a great time, and I’m so glad we went. Besides, I would have missed the rainbow doggies if we hadn’t.