I have one child. He is 9 months old. He is also, apparently, a boy.
I say he is “apparently” a boy because sex and gender are complicated things. We don’t know how he identifies (or if he even has a gender identity at all at this age) and it’s not like we’ve had his chromosomes tested or anything.
His other mother and I are both queer, and our lives are full of transgender, genderfluid, and otherwise gender nonconforming people (including the wonderful person who provided the sperm to help us make our baby).
We know very well that having a doctor tell you “It’s a boy” doesn’t mean much, and we are trying our best not to make assumptions.
All we really know is that our kid has a penis, and statistically speaking there is a very good chance he’s a boy.
So, when he was born, we guessed that “boy” was the best gender label available for him, at least for now. We’re open to being as flexible as he needs us to be!
We dress him in a wide variety of colours, yes, including pink sometimes. But we use male pronouns for him, and we gave him a “boy’s” name rather than a “girl’s” name or a “gender neutral” name. When people ask about his sex or gender, we are often OK with just saying, “Oh, he’s a boy,” especially if we’re on the bus or something.
We’re trying to raise him with a lot of options and very few assumptions, but I won’t be mad at you if you call my kid “handsome little boy” or something. It’s fine. People have a hard time talking about babies without gendered labels. Even I have a hard time with it, and I’ve put a kind of ridiculous amount of energy into analysing this stuff.
However, I do have one favour to ask.
Please, for the love of everything that is good in this world, stop calling him “little man.”
I know you don’t mean any harm. I know you aren’t trying to be a jerk. It’s OK — almost everyone does this.
All sorts of people take one look at the beautiful baby in my arms and say, “Hey there little man!” I know it comes from a place of love and joy and just generally being blown away by such a cute kid. I get it. I may have even said similar things to other people’s babies in the past. There’s just one problem.
He’s not a man, little or otherwise.