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But wont somebody think of the children?: kids, the animal world &gender This morning, my 5yo asked us if his new boy-kitten would grow up to be a daddy cat. We said that no, he wouldn't, and were about to explain that this is because the kitten is desexed when my son said, "Oh, that's right - because if you don't grow up to be a mummy or a daddy, then you're not a boy or a girl you're just a person! It turns out, he's been lowkey assuming that there are three grown-up genders: mummy, daddy, and adult, such that anyone who isn't a parent is, in some sense, nonbinary. We explained that, while he's right in thinking there are people who aren't boys or girls, your adult gender isn't determined by whether or not you have a kid, and used examples of people we know as proof. He accepted this with a nod, then went off to play with the kitten, We had a related conversation at bedtime last week, when the "story" he'd chosen was a book of facts about Australian animals. One of the entries we read was about the barramundi fish, which are all male as babies and only turn female during spawning season. This prompted him to ask if human boys could turn into girls, too, and while he was a bit too sleepy for a detailed conversation, I said something along the lines of, "yes, there are some people who look like boys when they're little, but who realise they're girls and change when they get older." He accepted that, too, and then we read another entry about a particular type of bat. These are only two small examples, but it's endlessly fascinating to me to watch how kids are trying to figure out what gender is and what it means from the world around them. There have been times when my son has come home saying that pink is for girls, because that's what he heard at school, and so we have a conversation about how colours are for everyone. The point is not only that children absorb what's going on around them and try to process it through an individual lens, but that how adults answer their questions plays a massive role in comprehension, too. Don't tell kids they're silly for asking these sorts of questions or act as if the truth is obvious: they're not, and it really isn't. But wont somebody think of the children?

But wont somebody think of the children?