Parents are really starting to recognize the harm that comes with forcing gender roles on kids. Not only can it cause insecurities and identity issues for children who don’t meet the stereotypical mold for their assigned gender but it can also impact the way they view men and women in general, which is why so many families are embracing the idea of creating gender-neutral homes. Orange Is The New Black star Dascha Polanco is one of them.
“I may not say strict, but I am going to say that I am a free-range parent,” the 35-year-old mom told People. Polanco who has a 9-year-old son named Aryam and a 16-year-old daughter named Danay Kristal, explains that she wants her children to become free thinkers.
“Not that my kids are going to run around like chickens and hens, but that they will be independent and successful, yet [have] rules,” she says. Because I am the parent and always embracing their individuality and creating gender-neutral homes.” Here’s a look at a few celebs who are raising their children in gender-neutral homes.
Though Polanco want her kids to embrace their individuality and think for themselves, she also makes it a priority to educate them on their Latino heritage. “Coming from the Dominican Republic, I do instill in them our culture, language, music and confidence,” she said. “I was the most beautiful thing for my mom. She loved my legs, she loved how alive I was and how ‘viva, viva, viva’ I was, meaning ‘alive’ in Spanish, and that is what I love sharing [with] my kids.”
The Dominican-Puerto Rican actress and founder of Latin media platform BESE, made headlines when she shared in a cover story with Women’s Health her decision to raise her sons in a gender neutral home. She elaborated on her desire to create a home that’s safe and that displays equality. She also doesn’t want her sons to grow up seeing her—the mother—as the main disciplinarian. “That’s ‘Mom’s the boss’ thing is not going to happen in our family, because that means he’s the fun one, the good guy, while I’m the disciplinarian,” she said. “I don’t want my kids to look at women like, ‘Oh god, they’re so annoying! They always come with structure.”
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith
The couple has become known for their radical approach to love, marriage and parenting and have always made it a priority to embrace their children’s individuality regardless of how they express their gender identity. “Jaden is 100 percent fearless. He will do anything, you know? So as a parent, it’s scary. It’s really terrifying,” Will told BBC Radio. “But he is completely willing to live and die by his own artistic decisions and he just doesn’t concern himself with what people think.”
Her and Brad Pitt received a lot of criticism when their daughter Shiloh started dressing like a boy but she made it very clear to the public that she was going to support whatever gender identity her daughter chose. “She wants to be a boy,” Jolie told Vanity Fair. “So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boy’s everything.”
The singer brought her son Angelo to Disneyland and allowed him to wear whatever he wanted which wound up being a Princess Ana costume and she 100 percent supported it. “I can’t wait to know who his best friends are going to be, who his girlfriend or his boyfriend is going to be or what movies he likes,” she told Time. “Whatever my kid wants to do or be I will support him no matter what.”