Gender Bias

by Nicky Simon-Burton, MAOL, director of business development

I consider myself to be well aware of gender bias in our world. I present in the community on how these social norms impact our community on a regular basis and ask clinicians to challenge their personal bias when it comes to gender explorations. So, imagine my surprise when I stood staring at the end cap at a local retailer trying to determine why I was fighting my two-year-old on which box of pull-ups to buy. My son loves Dora. He likes Diego. Both boxes of pull-ups were on clearance and both were in his size. He really, really wanted the pink, flowery Dora underpants.

I caught myself weighing the most silly things: when is the next time his grandparents will see him, would school see this has an issue, what will my partner say, and a whole slew of other ridiculousness. It didn’t take long for me to look at my son, laugh out loud, and place both boxes of pull-ups into the cart (it was a great sale).

It is funny how social norms impact us. I knew that it did not matter whether he wore pink or blue underpants as long as they kept him dry at night. I knew that he loved the cartoon Dora and to him the color made no difference. But my own internalized homonegativity translated the experience into so much more. Was I a bad mom to put him in pink? Can two lesbians raise a ‘real man’? If I get pink pants now, what does that mean for him later?

My point in sharing this story is to illustrate that we are all human. There is no perfect person who always remembers to shut off the internal dialogue. We have all learned lessons growing up and through our adult lives that shape who we are and how we cope with situations and conflict. However, you can allow this dialogue to come forward and then laugh and push it off.

You are who you are. We are each unique and different in our own way. If you like pink or blue or green or purple, it is still you. And it is amazing being the authentic you!