This family is raising their children through gender-neutral parenting, in the hope that they grow up to view men and women as equal.
The Glorioso-Mays family from Maryland, USA, have completely shunned defining their children by gender; their son Hadden (5) can wear a tutu and have bows in his hair, while their daughter Adelaide (1) dresses up as a firefighter and wears adorable matching outfits with her brother.
For mom Callie (30) and her military husband Caleb (29), gender neutral parenting is all about raising boys and girls in the same way.
Callie says she wants to change the misconception that gender-neutral parenting denies a child’s biological sex.
“The way we practice gender-neutral parenting is based on the idea that boys and girls should be raised the same way.
“Instead of dividing things like colours and toys between the sexes, we give each child the freedom and encouragement to discover what they like.”
Callie and Caleb maintain that they aren’t parenting in this way to be controversial or to show off, but rather because they think both their children should be given the same opportunities and encouragement in life.
“Children will be more well-rounded and confident. Hopefully they’ll be in touch with their emotions, something we see as traditionally feminine and their physicality, which is seen as traditionally masculine,” she said.
Callie explained that this will help them to not view everyone through a strict gender binary.
“On a larger scale, raising gender neutral children will diversify fields that are currently highly gendered which results in stronger communities, organisations and countries.
“I hope my children will have the freedom to become their whole selves and that they will extend that freedom to everyone they meet as well.
She says the negative feedback she sometimes gets from friends and family members has more often come from a place of confusion rather than of true disagreement.
“It’s hard for people to understand why we let our son wear a hair bow, for instance.”
Callie say this is something they have been doing since they were born.
“From the time they were born we’ve avoided highly gendered clothing and toys. We shop for both of them out of “girls” and “boys” clothing departments and, while most toys are shared, our son was gifted baby dolls and our daughter her own dump truck.
“On a bigger scale we tried to avoid gendered language or assumptions. Phrases like “boys will be boys” or “she’s a drama queen” play into negative stereotypes about each sex so I really rail against those.
She says they talk a lot about how boys and girls can do all the same things and intentionally expose them to books or people who are acting outside gender norms.
“Our goal is that our children grow up to see men and women as equals and value them as individuals, instead of judging them on how well they fit into societal norms.
“We hope that our children will never see their sex as a hindrance or an excuse, but as just one aspect of who they are.”