The Case Against Raising Your Children Gender-Neutral
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To The Parents Labeling Their Kids ‘Theybies,’ That’s Not How You'll End Gender Stereotypes

Gender dysphoria is a huge struggle for those who struggle with it but is not widespread to the extent that parents need to remodel their parenting style and pronoun use.

Little girl with flower crown holding up her dress

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, allow me to explain. "Theybies" is just the latest parenting trend that has taken the progressive world by storm.

Basically, families are raising gender-neutral babies to allow their children to decide their own gender as they grow. In a world where it's almost impossible to go about being "gender-free," young moms and dads across America are choosing to refer to their children as "they" until the age of four to avoid giving into gender stereotypes. If children are completely unaware of their sex and free of parental influence, then they will have the freedom to self-identify their gender. The child won't be forced to pick between pink and blue, barbies and cars, and dresses and shorts.

Oh, how thoughtful of the parents! The intention is to promote inclusivity and acceptance of all genders and sexual identities by introducing the child to a "gender creative" environment. It seems pretty harmless and open-minded, but it's just not the way to go. Such parents are theorizing that keeping their child's sex hidden will not reinforce gender stereotypes. The key word here is theorizing. In fact, there is no research yet to support that idea. Your children aren't social experiments to test a new way of gender-openness. This way of upbringing isn't mainstream and will have serious consequences in the children's childhood into adult life.

First off, people need to understand the difference between sex and gender. Sex is biological and a basis of how humans and other species are divided (primarily male and female) based on their reproductive organs and structures. Gender, on the other hand, is a social construct. By hiding a child's sex to be more "gender open," we accomplish absolutely nothing because they aren't the same thing, to begin with.

It is just wrong to keep a child's sexual identity a secret. In a world where you simply need to know the sex of a person for the purposes of growth, identification, and categorization, leaving the sex up to ambiguity is ridiculous. Kids need to know that their genitalia and biological makeup likely correspond to their personality and attributes. When they hit puberty, they need to be informed of what sort of changes their body will experience. Why leave it up to guessing and trial-and-error? Gender dysphoria (the distress a person feels when their gender does not align with their assigned sex at birth) is a huge struggle for those who struggle with it but is not widespread to the extent that parents need to remodel their parenting style and pronoun use.

It is no question that sexuality and gender exist on a spectrum, but there's no need to dismiss gender entirely. At the end of the day, parents are still letting their kids decide their gender based on their preferences and personality. If anything, we are perpetuating gender-based stereotypes by basing gender on the kind of things kids prefer. Just the mere suggestion that kids who aren't genderless cannot enjoy toys and clothes of the opposite sex is itself reinforcing such stereotypes. The world isn't forcing gender stereotypes down our throats, and it is possible to be open-minded without raising a "theyby."

Instead of hiding gender completely, why not encourage and expose our children to all sorts of colors, toys, and ideas? Why not teach parents the broad spectrum of gender and sexual identity and the importance of accepting whoever their children grow up to be? Kids at the age of four are unlikely to truly comprehend their identity and easily susceptible to their surroundings and whatever they are exposed to. If parents do not initially provide guidance, kids are left to figure out their identity for themselves. One day, they might feel like a girl, another like a boy... maybe even a unicorn. Where does the line stop?

Most parents aren't going to follow this trend, and for the few that do, be warned that your children are going to be unaware and isolated of the larger social community. The truth of the matter is that our world revolves around labels and categorization, and liberals are too caught up in trying to change up the terminology. Genderless kids who are left to experiment with their identity from a very young age will face all sorts of problems that can be avoided by raising them conventionally. Instead of getting rid of labels, the focus should be on adopting more positive attitudes towards gender fluidity.

Labeling a baby at birth for the sake of convenience with the awareness that sex does not necessarily correlate with gender isn't forcing gender stereotypes. The labels may be wrong at times, and when they are, the priority should be to increase awareness of how to approach, deal, and understand those scenarios. At the very least, I'm glad that "theybies" are starting more conversations about gender identity.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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