Here’s the latest parental-permissiveness fad, practiced (says the New York Times — discovered via  Hugh Hewitt) mostly — actually probably only —  in “tolerant” parts of the country such as the San Francisco Bay: letting your little boy be a little girl if he wants to (and vice versa):

“At the Park Day School in Oakland, teachers are taught a gender-neutral vocabulary and are urged to line up students by sneaker color rather than by gender. ‘We are careful not to create a situation where students are being boxed in,’ said Tom Little, the school’s director. ‘We allow them to move back and forth until something feels right.’…

“En route to a mall with her son, Ms. B. had an epiphany: ‘It just clicked in me. I said, ‘You really want to wear a dress, don’t you?’

“Thus began what the B.’s, who asked their full names not be used to protect their son’s privacy, call ‘the reluctant path,’ a behind-closed-doors struggle to come to terms with a gender-variant child — a spirited 5-year-old boy who, at least for now, strongly identifies as a girl, requests to be called ‘she’ and asks to wear pigtails and pink jumpers to school.”

The ironic thing is that Little Miss Gender Variant is likely to be the only “she” in the class wearing a jumper, in pink or any other color. Most little girls who are the real thing dress in more practical pants for the rough and tumble of school.

Parents and teachers might think that they are being oh-so-progressive in indulging the cross-dressing fantasies of 5-year-olds, but a lot of child professionals think otherwise:

“…Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist and head of the gender-identity service at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, disagrees with the ‘free to be’ approach with young children and cross-dressing in public. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Zucker has treated about 500 preadolescent gender-variant children. In his studies, 80 percent grow out of the behavior, but 15 percent to 20 percent continue to be distressed about their gender and may ultimately change their sex.

“Dr. Zucker tries to ‘help these kids be more content in their biological gender’ until they are older and can determine their sexual identity — accomplished, he said, by encouraging same-sex friendships and activities like board games that move beyond strict gender roles.”

Yes, what if Junior turns out to be one of the 80 percent and grows up to conclude that his mom and dad are weird old hippies who sent him to a really strange progressive school?