As Pat grew, we dressed xer in pink dresses. The toy room was littered gender-neutral toys (and some feminine ones for good measure) we would use to teach and play. It was an amazing time for all of us. Under Gwen’s direction, both Pat and I learned daily about not only the world, but ourselves. We were so careful not to allow any masculine influence into Pat’s life, and I thought we had done well, but, as when we were careful before, it wasn’t enough.
When Pat was two, we brought him to a friend’s house where she, a single mother who participated in in-vitro, had given birth to a young girl around the same time as Gwen. She was raising her child in much the same manner as we were raising ours, and it seemed only natural to put the two together, although Gwen and I were wary of the toys our friend had bought for her daughter—a toy workbench complete with power tools, little bulldozers and trucks, and sports balls of all kind. We decided, against better judgement, to allow Pat to participate in activities that encouraged our friend’s daughter to break from societal norms.
Things were going smoothly until Pat’s eyes locked onto the hammer at the toy workbench. Quietly, I watched as he left the company of the little girl where they had been playing with a soccer ball (due to the high number of homosexuals who play and enjoy soccer, we felt this was safe) and hobbled over to the workbench. Before I could put my wine down and leap across the room to stop him, he had picked up the hammer and was banging it onto a toy nail.
In that moment, Gwen and I watched as all our work began to slip away. “No!” I said, as I yanked the hammer out of his little hand. Pat looked at me, very confused, both of us unable to articulate just how awful what he did was. “Look!” I said, handing him an African-American doctor Barbie doll. He took it eagerly, and we all breathed with a sigh of relief. I walked away, confident that I had averted a crisis…until Gwen and our friend gave a terrified squeal.
I heard it before I saw it. The banging sound had returned, only when I spun around to look I saw with horror Pat using the African-American doctor Barbie as a hammer. Gwen did not allow me a second chance at fixing this. She tipped over the chair as she ran toward Pat. Yanking the doll out of his hand, she screamed “No!” repeatedly. We left quickly, not willing to risk any more male toxicity creeping into our child.
We couldn’t believe it. Not only had Pat exhibited masculine traits despite our best efforts, he had done so by using a woman as a tool, and an African-American woman no less. He was only two, and not only was he already a sexist, he was a racist. On the way home, Gwen rightly placed the blame on me. I sat quietly as I accepted her righteous anger, waiting for her to finish before I would apologize repeatedly. Her amazing wisdom and intuitivity rocked my very core as she screamed and scolded me, and I had to remind myself that I needed it.