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Child Psychiatrist Speaks Out on the Importance of Raising Non-Gender “Theybies”
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Child Psychiatrist Speaks Out on the Importance of Raising Non-Gender “Theybies”

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“We don’t want our children pigeon-holed”: an Arizona-based child psychiatrist says that it’s important to raise babies to reject gender roles.

Dr. Anna Shier — a double board-certified physician in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry — is a proponent of the burgeoning “theyby” movement.

“Theybies” are defined as gender-neutral babies who aren’t coerced one way or the other to behave the way stereotypes of their natural-born sexes might. According to Dr. Shier, parents assign the kids pronouns like theythem, or their, rather than heshehim, or her, based on their anatomy.

For example, baby girls are not forced to play with dolls and dress in pink, nor are baby boys forced to wear blue clothing and play with trucks.

Here’s what Ari Dennis, the mom believing that her child’s genitals don’t determine her child’s gender, says:

“We did not assign a sex at birth, which means when they were born, they had genitals, we know what they are, we just chose to acknowledge that those genitals don’t indicate anything about gender.”

Thus, her ‘theyby’ Sparrow, who is 11 months old, will be able to decide his or her gender when he or she is older. Moreover, the child’s birth certificate says “unknown” under “sex.”

Dr. Anna Shier seems to completely agree with Dennis, saying that from her experience, it’s important to avoid pushing children into male-female stereotypes.

“[F]or [babies], unless you tell them that’s a boy part and that’s a girl part, they won’t themselves necessarily know,” Shier explained.

“We don’t want our children pigeon-holed,” she added.

“We don’t want our children to not be able to be as successful as they potentially could be. So, you know, kids learn the very most in this world from toys that they play with, so if girls don’t get to play with blocks or toys that would teach them spacial [sic] understanding or mathematical concepts, then they’re missing out on that really important aspect of learning, because they are pushed really more towards dolls, learning how to nurture through that sort of toy.”

The psychiatrist also explained that children typically determine their own genders by the age of 3 — or at least figure out “what gender fits them.”

The right to choose is exactly what Zoomer’s parents decided to provide their child with first of all. The Utah-based family have made a conscious decision not to tell people if the sweet child is a girl or a boy.

The mother of the theyby is sure “Zoomer will most likely choose a gender by the time they are three or four.”

In her blog Raising Zoomer, Kyl said: “The sex does not tell us anything about the child’s personality, temperament, favourite colour, dietary preferences, sense of humour, attitudes toward climate change, or any of their other unique traits.”

“We simply don’t believe that is our decision to make on their behalf. By not revealing their sex, and by treating them in a gender creative way, Z will have the freedom to explore and create their own identity, outside of the restrictions and expectations of traditional gender norms,” she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hi! We’ve made quite a few new friends since Alex Morris’ #THEYBY article came out in @NYmag and @TheCut this week. We want to introduce ourselves to you and welcome you into our world! I’m Kyl, Zoomer’s mom, Brent is Zoomer’s dad, and Zoomer is our incredible little toddler. Brent and I practice gender creative parenting. We didn’t assign a gender to Zoomer, we don’t disclose their sex to people who don’t need to know, and we use gender-neutral pronouns for Zoomer (they/them/their). We actively work to provide Zoomer with an environment that celebrates their individuality. We expose them to all kinds of toys, clothes, colors and activities and we encourage their interests and self-expression. Parenting this way has certainly reduced Zoomer’s experiences with gendered micro-aggressions and stereotypes. Additionally, we actively strive to teach Zoomer about diversity, inclusion, equality, autonomy, and social justice. We are able to do this with an amazing network of supportive and loving family members, friends, and caretakers. We are very proud and confident about our decision to raise Zoomer this way and we felt a responsibility to be a resource for people who are interested in learning more about gender creative parenting. As you’ll see, there is virtually NO negativity on our account. We are proud of the community we have cultivated here and we intentionally created a space that is accessible, respectful, kind and fun. We’re happy you’re here. Check out our website RaisingZoomer.com and my TEDx talk (google “Kyl Myers TED talk”). We hope you find what you’re looking for. Feel free to DM us with your questions. And if you feel so inclined, we’d love to know more about you! ⭐️ What’s your name, where are you from, and what brought you here? ⭐️ ???? - The Courtney-Myers Family

A post shared by Raising Zoomer (@raisingzoomer) on

“That’s [age of three or four] just when kids start to have an understanding of what their own innate interests are, and that probably does have something to do with the differences in our brain, but it’s hard to say that once we do have,” the psychiatrist explained.

“If we have more gender-neutral families, we may find that that age of 3 to 4 is pushed back a little bit later, because they are given more time to really develop without societal influence.”

Shier added there are only benefits if the child in question — the “theyby,” in this case — is able to choose their own gender, or gender identity.

“In terms of what the study showed when they had kids playing with toys they associated with their gender, they were able to recall more about it,” Shier said. “They recalled things that the toys can do. They recalled things they might want the toy to do, and those things that were considered outside of their gender, they couldn’t really recall as much. They didn’t really learn as much from their exposure.”

Bonnie Love, a mom of Madelyn, 7, and Isabella, 6, decided to raise her daughters differently in the sense of the gender neutrality.

“I had a lot of pink, a lot of purple. A lot of the gifts that were given to Madelyn’s baby shower, everything was your pink, pink, pink, girl, girl, girl dolls. Something about that didn’t sit well with me. With Isabella, though, I did give her the trucks. I did give her the Spiderman costume. I gave her both and just let her choose,” Love said.

Moreover, the woman didn’t even learn the gender of the baby during her second pregnancy.

“So, our family had a really hard time with that because it’s not normal, and people wanted to know whether or not to buy the pink or the blue, and I also didn’t want that.”

Love simply wanted her child to have the choice: “I think that you’re born a specific way, and whether you – however you identify is on your own.”

Love’s daughter, Isabella, who ultimately chose “to be a princess” / PrtSc: Fox5

Raising children gender-neutral, outside of traditional gender norms, is a way of parenting that has become increasingly popular in the U.S., allowing boys and girls to play with the same toys and wear the same clothes.

Nevertheless, studies show that many gender-nonconforming children face bullying. A 2012 survey from GLSEN, which advocates for safe school environments for LGBTQ children, found that 20 to 25 percent of elementary schoolers reported seeing gender-nonconforming classmates being bullied or called names. A 2015 study found that over 95 percent of LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 21 heard negative comments about not acting “masculine” or “feminine” enough.

Author: USA Really