A new way to parent: raising 'theybies'; babies without a gender assignment

Shot of a mother spending time with her newborn baby

A new way to parent: raising 'theybies'; babies without a gender assignment

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A new way to parent: raising 'theybies'; babies without a gender assignment

Two days ago New York Magazine’s The Cut published a story on a new form of parenting rising in popularity: raising babies without a gender assignment.

The story, “Is it possible to raise your child entirely without gender from birth,” explores “theybies” :

“Babies whose parents had decided not to reveal their sex, who used they/them pronouns for their children, and whose goal was to create an early childhood free of gendered ideas of how a child should dress, act, play, and be,” the author writes.

Parents of ‘theybies’ believe sex is biological and gender is a societal construction.

Therefore, they keep the child’s sex from the public to prevent people from inflicting gender-based stereotypes onto their child.

The parents don’t eliminate gender as a whole

The kids still understand boy vs. girl, Alex Morris writes, but they may learn that a penis doesn’t necessarily mean boy and a vagina doesn’t necessarily mean girl. And they may decide that something stereotyped as “boyish,” like playing in the mud, is actually “girlish.”

It seems most of the parents Morris interviewed believe their child will pick their gender by the end of toddler years, though one pair of parents seemed prepared for the possibility that their child may be gender nonconforming altogether.

Mostly, the parents interviewed in the story seem to want to leave the gender decisions to the children, and in fact, want to learn more about gender from their children.

“Gender-open parents argue that their way of parenting helps them see just how much of a mirage gender can be. Most admit to sometimes misgendering their kids, but not always in alignment with their anatomy,” Morris writes.

Public backlash to the story

Since the story published in print on April 2 and online April 3, social-media responses have run the gamut.

Some feel open to gender fluidity but don’t see the point in raising a kid with they/them pronouns:
Some feel the parents are doing it for selfish motives:
Some feel the parents are going to simply confuse their kids more:
Some feel this is a strong way to raise a loving child:

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