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Katherine Hepburn: A Lesson In Gender Identity

Katherine Hepburn: A Lesson In Gender Identity

Mike Huckabee, July 6, 2017

In light of the recent story about a Canadian parent who successfully kept any designation of gender off a newborn baby’s birth certificate, to allow the child to “decide” later, here’s another story brought to me by a staffer.

She’d just watched a documentary on the life of screen legend Katharine Hepburn in which the great Kate herself reveals that as a young girl she, for a time, wanted to be a boy.

She always was a tomboy and grew up with brothers. In a day when gender roles were much more differentiated than they are today, she just wasn’t a “girly-girl” and envied boys’ freedom to play hard and have adventures together –- to the point where she decided to be a boy herself. She grabbed some scissors and cut her hair extremely short, dressed in boys’ clothes and proclaimed that she would go by the name “Jimmy.” The documentary even showed a picture of the young Kate as a “boy.”

Of course, we know that Kate’s “boy” phase was just that, a phase, and that she grew up to be a wonderfully talented actress. Her ability to create a different persona as a young child spoke not to her real gender identity but to a power of imagination entirely consistent with her later acting skill. (In fact, for one movie role, as part of the plot she had to “fool” other characters into thinking she was a boy.) She would always favor a casual style offscreen and preferred pants to dresses, but she was definitely a woman.

Now, what would happen to Katharine Hepburn if she were born in this decade? Perhaps her parents would notice her desire to be one of the boys, declare her a male, and immediately start her on testosterone shots and other means of gender “reassignment.” After all, young children can decide these things, right? “Kate” could have been turned by her caring family into “Nate” and sent forward into a life of gender confusion hell.

All by well-meaning parents who are too quick to assume the correctness of trendy thinking in 2017.