Sometimes my 2-year-old will insist he’s a dog. Other times, he’ll tell me that he’s a dinosaur, before pretending — usually, pretending — to bite everything in sight.
This presents quite a dilemma. How do I determine his animal identity?
Have you ever tried to get PJs on a 2-year-old when he’s determined to resist? It’s practically impossible, as I’ve learned the hard way. Getting his arm into the sleeve of his Spider-Man jammies is like picking up a jello square with chopsticks. But there’s a solution. I ask him if he’s a doggie and — boom — total behavioral change. He pants like a dog, crawls around and most importantly, lets me put on his PJs.
Other times, he’ll insist that he’s a dinosaur. He’ll roar his way into a room and swing his head around, looking like Tyrannosaurus rex, at least if T. rex was the world’s cutest 2-year-old. If you dare to call him by his name, he’ll insist he’s a dinosaur before attempting to bite your head off.
To make matters more confusing, occasionally, he’ll hop around like a frog. A few days ago, he put a laundry basket on top of his head and told me he was a robot.
It would be absurd to take any of this literally. I am an adult. I know there are physical, biological differences between a human boy and a dog, dinosaur, frog and robot. No matter how he behaves, my son can’t change himself into an animal.
Not only that, it would be incredibly damaging to my son to treat him like a dog. A dog can stick his head out the car window. My son has to go in his car seat, whether he likes it or not. My son is learning to use a spoon and fork and clean up his toys. One day, he’ll learn to read. Those aren’t skills you teach dogs.
This all sounds hopelessly obvious — and it should. Small children are helpless and ignorant. They depend on the knowledge of their parents to survive and learn about the world. They even need to know that they’re human beings, not animals.
But replace “animal” with “gender,” and that widespread agreement is gone. Many liberals will insist that if a boy says he is a girl, that he is a girl.
That’s the official policy of the Clark County School District. If a pre-K boy says he is a girl, school district employees must treat him as such. Teachers and students can even be punished for not using a child’s preferred pronoun. We don’t trust a pre-K student to pack his own lunch, but some people think that same child should be able to pick his gender.
Of course, children suffering from gender identity disorder should be treated with care and compassion. That doesn’t mean pretending their feelings can trump biological realities. The good news is that the vast majority of young children outgrow these feelings despite activists’ claims.
In other cases, parents are the ones driving the change. In Texas, the mother of a 7-year-old named James Younger started telling him that he was a girl when he was 3 years old. That’s according to a video posted by the boy’s father, who was fighting for custody. The mother’s evidence was that he liked the princess movie “Frozen.” In October, a jury awarded the mother full custody and the ability to start the gender transition process, even though James acted as boy when with his father. After an outcry among conservatives, a judge ruled the parents will have joint authority over medical decisions.
Letting children choose their gender makes as much sense as letting a toddler decide he’s really a dog or dinosaur. A person’s feelings, even if deeply held, can’t change biological realities.