Exciting news on the gender front. NBC News discovers a new trend:
Shhhhhh, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can’t keep a biological sex secret. But…
Three-year-old twins Zyler and Kadyn Sharpe scurried around the boys and girls clothing racks of a narrow consignment store filled with toys. Zyler, wearing rainbow leggings, scrutinized a pair of hot-pink-and-purple sneakers. Kadyn, in a T-Rex shirt, fixated on a musical cube that flashed colorful lights. At a glance, the only discernible difference between these fraternal twins is their hair — Zyler’s is brown and Kadyn’s is blond.
Is Zyler a boy or a girl? How about Kadyn? That’s a question their parents, Nate and Julia Sharpe, say only the twins can decide. The Cambridge, Mass., couple represent a small group of parents raising “theybies” — children being brought up without gender designation from birth. A Facebook community for these parents currently claims about 220 members across the U.S.
“A theyby is, I think, different things to different people,” Nate Sharpe told NBC News. “For us, it means raising our kids with gender-neutral pronouns — so, ‘they,’ ‘them,’ ‘their,’ rather than assigning ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘him,’ ‘her’ from birth based on their anatomy.”
Parents in the U.S. are increasingly raising children outside traditional gender norms — allowing boys and girls to play with the same toys and wear the same clothes — though experts say this is happening mostly in progressive, well-to-do enclaves. But what makes this “gender-open” style of parenting stand out, and even controversial in some circles, is that the parents do not reveal the sex of their children to anyone. Even the children, who are aware of their own body parts and how they may differ from others, are not taught to associate those body parts with being a boy or girl. If no one knows a child’s sex, these parents theorize, the child can’t be pigeonholed into gender stereotypes.
They may be a tiny minority so far, but the way things are going you’ll be seeing more and more theybies – eventually growing into more and more confused theydults.
I’m generally a “live and let live” kind of a guy, believing that people should be able to do what they want to do as long as they’re not harming others, but in this instance I worry about the gender-fluid children.
I understand that for whatever reason there are a number of people who grow to feel they have been born in a wrong body, but their number is minuscule. What these parents are doing is preemptively screwing with their kids’ most basic identity, likely setting them up for a life as outsiders.
Welcome to the great progressive future where children can’t choose whether they eat broccoli or not, but can happily choose their gender.
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk where this piece also appears.
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