Gender Neutral: In Life and in the Home – Gender Neutral Rooms & Nurseries

With all of the news about transgender issues facing the nation over the past year and specifically this week (as the news hits that the Trump administration withdraws protections for transgender students) the topic has been on my mind. It’s been a big news story for days.  It seems that every day lately, there is a new political topic that makes us ask ourselves, which side are we on?   Coincidentally, I’ve decided to watch The Danish Girl.  (Which I am watching now as I type this! Have you seen it?).  I never really thought about “gender” issues until I became a mother, and with three young children (two girls and a boy) all born within 36 months, I have been amazed to see firsthand how inconsequential gender can be in children and how well they play together regardless of sex.  Children are intuitively so open minded and open hearted during this early period of their lives before hormones kick in and life becomes so separated into boys and girls, men and women.  My goal as a mother of both sexes is to raise confident girls who not can – but will – achieve in what can still be very much a man’s world, while still feeling that they can be “girls” in whatever sense that means to them.  I’m raising my son to be the same, of course, while also emotionally rich and deep and empathetic and supportive of women…and boyish in whatever sense of the word that will mean to him.  In other words, raising “humans” (a novel idea these days, right?).  (Side note: I enjoyed the book “Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood – it’s a great read if you’ve got boys).  We love our children as humans to the core of their being and I empathize with families dealing with these gender issues.  I know that the honeymoon period of young children is nearly over for me and as my kids are now 8, 10 and 11- I’m heading into the period where the girls and boys separate, want less to do with each other for a while, the girls and boys are in their separate spheres and locker rooms and everything changes…

Here’s an old photo of me with my kids and my mother in Bermuda five or six years ago during that sweet period where kids just coexist and play:

I have read National Geographic every month since I was younger than my children are now and I was intrigued when I saw that last month’s entire issue was dedicated to the subject of Gender.  If you are confused by the whole transgender debate or want to understand it more, I encourage you to check out this article How Science is Helping Us Understand Gender – National Geographic, January 2017 (click link to read article).  The article was highly educational for me and opened by eyes more to the debate.  I had no idea that kids can be born with an enzyme deficiency where ones born female at birth can actually develop into males after going through puberty.  I also was unaware that there are intersex chromosomal conditions where other children are born with both female and male anatomy. Yet other kids can have a disfunction of a gene called the SRY gene that controls what an embryo turns into – boy or girl.  There can be defects or missing parts of the gene that cause mass confusion in a developing child.   In addition, there are other syndromes such as androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) and the list goes on.  Of course, National Geographic of all publications does a great job of explaining all of this in scientific terms.  Check out the article if you want to feel educated on a topic that is all around us right now.  There is a great deal of science and biology behind why transgender people clearly need a human, supportive response to what they are going through.  It’s a difficult debate in terms of bathrooms and locker rooms, as a mom I hear the concerns on both sides completely. I thought I would share the National Geographic article as it helped me considerably to see this issue with more clarity.

P.S. I finished “The Danish Girl” while writing this and Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander were amazing!   It’s a love story to the end…

With that said, gender neutral extends to decor.  While I have loved my flowery colors over the years and certainly in my children’s rooms, here are a few great rooms that focus on the neutral and work well!  There are plenty of instances when a neutral room is necessary – whether you have a child who just isn’t super girly or a boy who doesn’t just want sports art all over his room, it pays to have a calming neutral room.  The same is true for nurseries — many families want one nursery that will work for multiple children.  Or you may be a married couple and the husband insists on a room that isn’t too feminine.  Take a look – there are plenty of options that work!

Photo: Prue Ruscoe for Real Living



We have some new bedding at The Well Appointed House that works in a neutral setting as well – great for married couples, too.  This one starts at $250:

This one is $196 and up:



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