Day 3. 10 pages, 3,214 words.
I saw a really interesting story about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s kid the other day. Actually the most interesting thing about it was that they had a kid, I’d had absolutely no idea they had bred – in fact, I wasn’t even aware they were together. I’m not much of a celebrity stalker but all I knew was that Jolie had adopted a whole bunch of kids, and cut her breasts off? Something like that. Avoiding the breast cancer in her family? I don’t know, it sounded awful and I was really very sorry for her and (considering my own cancer experience) could only admire her determination to survive.
Don’t know what happened there, but anyway, they have a biological kid – formerly Shiloh, now John, so let’s award a few Common Sense Points for going with a normal-arse name – who has decided to wear men’s clothes and identify as male.
 Now, to be fair, I am pretty sheltered and ignorant so I looked up the name on Wikipedia. As I had suspected, it was of Hebrew origin and is also a biblical reference. It’s by no means a common name, but I want to be clear I am not putting it in the same category as “Sage Moonblood” or “Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof”. It’s not an entirely idiotic celebrity name. Even more interestingly, it is actually a unisex name so technically there was no reason to go with John, beside the “just get me away from Shiloh” reason. But I won’t speculate further, it’s not my intent to be rude here. All in all, the Jolie-Pitts come off really, really cool in this story.
Now like I say, I had no idea they had even bred. And my first, last, and basically only thought in this whole thing, after seeing the article, is “boy or girl, who cares – that kid won the genetic lottery.” Does it really matter if you are a God or a Goddess, if you stand among jutting-browed Morlock-esque humanity like a flower, to paraphrase The Simpsons, growing out of a pot of dirt?
“I shall be a benevolent God. All I ask is My due: that you adore Me.”
No, I say good for mum and dad for supporting John’s decision here, and it really shouldn’t be that much of a big deal. We shouldn’t care so much about gender, and we certainly shouldn’t care so much about celebrities, and this story has both. The article also goes into the questions of “how young is too young to make a decision like this?” and “what sort of steps should a pre-pubescent kid be permitted to take in pursuit of this desire?”. Where do we draw the line and enforce the old world’s “okay, this is clearly just a little kid not knowing the difference between boys and girls and deciding in that silly kid way that she is a boy or that he is a girl” attitude?
Our firstborn regularly declares that she is a cat, or a dog. Now drawing this comparison is a little bit too much like “homosexuality is like bestiality” to me so I will be careful with it, but my point is, sometimes kids confuse what’s happening in their heads with the real world, because the boundary is blurred for them. And if they don’t understand basically the first thing about gender, can they make an informed decision? Where do you draw the line between “this is a decision they’re making based on what they really feel” and “this is just something they want today, because they don’t know better?”
Again, even putting that to words is hard because it makes me feel massively intolerant. That’s not what I’m aiming for here (which should be obvious if you have read any of my other posts about gender and kids). And if John Jolie-Pitt has consistently identified himself this way for years, fair to say there’s probably more going on than a passing toddler-to-preschooler whim. But the article does raise the questions.
I guess ultimately it’s just another joyous thing that parents get to decide, for now, and we can only hope to make the right decision at the time.