In the tradition of celebrity moms like
, pop musician Gwen Stefani recently opened up about actively supporting her kids' gender expression.
In an interview with
, the former No Doubt frontwoman explained how important it is that her three sons Kingston, Zuma, and Apollo know that "there's no wrong way to express themselves," and shared a sweet story of playing "Nail Salon" with them.
"What I like to say is that being unique and original is what makes me happy, and I think that rubs off on them," Stefani said. "My sons did nails just the other day ... I literally have 400 bottles of nail polish, so they took them all out and put them all over the bathroom. We really played 'salon' and we did tiger stripe nails."
Experts in childhood gender identity
the importance of parents allowing children to discover their own genders.
"To explore what it means to be both genders is totally normal ... You can't become what you are until you know what you're not," clinical psychologist Linda Blair recently explained to U.K. newspaper
in response to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's 8-year-old child, who was assigned female at birth,
and asking to be called "John."
The power of familial acceptance -- or lack thereof -- was driven home recently with the passing of 17-year-old trans teen
, who expressed in a public suicide note that having her gender denied by her parents led, in part, to her feeling unloved and hopeless.
In allowing male-assigned children to express femininity by wearing nail polish or otherwise, parents like Stefani are giving their kids space and agency to discover their own identities. Whether such children ultimately identify as trans, gender-nonconforming, or somewhere on the LGBT spectrum is impossible to say -- and Stefani, for one, is modeling how to be okay with knowing this.
A "Nail Salon" conversation Stefani recalled with her oldest son Kingston, age 10, says it all:
"I said to Kingston, 'Are you sure you wanna do pink, because you're gonna go to school tomorrow? Are you sure you're not gonna be embarrassed?' He said, 'No, I don't care; it's a cool color.' I just love that. It's really important more than anything else to
be talked into something, to stand your ground and be able to be strong about what you feel."