By Bianca Gonzalez-Intal as told to ABS-CBN Lifestyle
When Lucia was born, a lot of friends said, “Ay, you have a girl! Ang sarap bihisan!” But honestly, if she were a boy, I probably would have been just as excited to dress him up.
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Maybe it’s because I myself am not really into clothes. To be honest, I wasn’t super excited to shop for her. I bought probably only 10% of what’s in her closet. The rest were either gifts or hand-me-downs. Up until she was one, I usually just patterned her outfits after mine. I made her wear neutrals like white, gray, and navy. I never used to make her wear pink! Until she grew up and naturally gravitated to what we consider “girly colors” like violet and pink. Now my daughter likes violet and pink, no matter how much I tried “conditioning” her to like red, white, or blue. They grow up to have a mind of their own, and we just let them be.
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The same goes for toys. To this day, Lucia doesn’t really know the princesses, and doesn’t really play with dolls. She is obsessed with PAW Patrol. She also loves Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly. She loves playing with tools and cars. I want her to grow up with what both “boy” toys and “girl” toys. I have introduced her to princesses like Elena of Avalor and Moana, who are both strong, smart, brave women.
Was raising her to be gender-neutral a conscious choice? Absolutely. I want to teach her how not to distinguish things to be, “Ay, ito pang-girl; ito pang-boy.” She’s three years old now. She’s definitely developing her own personality—being very specific with what she wants and how she wants things—and her own preferences. The best thing we can do is just guide them as they grow up, and support and encourage their personal choices.
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Photographs from Vyn Radovan, JC Intal's, and my personal Instagram account | Banner image by Lui Jimenez