I love the fact that I know many people who are pregnant, have just had children, or have very young kids. I love kids, kids love me, and I can’t wait to adopt three kids from various continents around the world. Seriously, I can’t wait. I have wet dreams about traveling the country with my partner in search of lgbt-friendly, family-friendly neighborhoods with good schools. I’m going to be that guy with the station wagon, the baby on board stickers, and a rainbow fanny pack filled with baggies of trail mix (no raisins, though – they’re gross).

But it wasn’t until I entered a party supplies store the other day that I was reminded of a big obstacle I will have to face when I one day have kids (and, well, a big obstacle my kids will have to face, too). As I walked down the long aisle designated for children’s parties, I was attacked on both sides – screaming pink on the left, and a defiant blue on the right, items hanging over me almost ten feet above my head, both sides whispering in my ears: “choose”.

After walking through that nightmare, I was reminded of theory explaining how gender is most intensely imbued into our psyche when we are very young. As I’m thinking, I can’t imagine any kind of child-related event that is not somehow gendered hardcore according to the binary. Why is it that we barrage kids with things that are blue or pink, tough or girly – from clothes, to toys, to party favors, to gifts? Wouldn’t it make the most sense to get a better idea of what the kid really wants instead of an assumed set of gendered behaviors and interests, most of which they won’t have even fully cultivated into their personalities until the age of 4 or 5?

For all my bitching, though, I have to admit it’s likely harder than it looks. When you’re raising a kid, worrying about their health and general well-being, why do you want to waste time making sure everything you buy is gender neutral? What if your partner has dreams of their son becoming the greatest basketball player, or aspirations that their daughter will be the most beautiful girl in school? And let’s be really honest – how do you tell your husband you want to give your son a dollhouse, and how do you tell your wife you want to give your daughter a football? The thought would make most people’s skin crawl. I still think that aiming for gender neutrality (or less gender-related stress) is important, but I can tell you that I understand it may be difficult for most families.

I guess I’ve just tried to ignore the gender-specific talk from my friends about their children, how different it would be to raise a boy as opposed to a girl and vice versa (“I’ve been raising a boy for so long…I just don’t think I’d know how to raise a girl!”). I remember when I got a call from a colleague of mine who gave birth - I reported the news to the rest of my coworkers. “Is it a boy or a girl?” they asked, desperate for more information. I, however, had forgotten to ask. They were horrified: “How could you not ask?!”

I was actually kind of proud of myself. The sex wasn’t the biggest news to me – it was the fact that the child was born. And that makes me way cool. Right?

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