There’s a bizarre new trend among young moms and dads across America: starting their kids off in life as gender-neutral “theybies.” That means letting their children decide for themselves whether they “identify” as male or female. And it also means not letting friends and family know what the biological sex of a child is, to ensure that no one influences the child’s decision on his or her gender identification.
Reporting on this strange new parenting phenomenon, NBC News explained that hip, 30-something parents across the Unied States “are increasingly raising children outside traditional gender norms — allowing boys and girls to play with the same toys and wear the same clothes,” and choosing not to reveal the sex of the child 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,” reported NBC. “If no one knows a child’s sex, these parents theorize, the child can’t be pigeonholed into gender stereotypes.”
Apparently it all started back in 2011 when a couple in Toronto announced that they would raise their child, whom they tagged with the name “Storm,” with no gender designation. Five years later in 2016, as reported by the Toronto Star, it appeared that Storm was identifying as a “she,” while the paper gave no clear indication of what Storm’s biological sex actually was. Parroting the party line their parents were using for the confusing, neglectful circumstances inflicted upon their children, Storm’s older sibling Jazz declared to the Star that “sex is what is between your legs, and gender is what you think of yourself as a person.” Jazz was also required by mom and dad to decide his/her gender, and it’s not quite clear from the article what that decision was.
Pointing out the obvious, child-development experts explain that despite the “noble” aspirations of parents to assure they don’t push their “theybies” into declaring a gender before they’re good and ready, once that happens, children raised in such an environment are likely to have a tough row to hoe when their buffered world collides with a gender-assumptive culture. “Once your child meets the outer world, which may be day care, or preschool, or grandparents, it’s pretty much impossible to maintain a gender-free state,” Lise Eliot, a professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School and author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain, told NBC. “And depending on how conventional your community is, you could be setting your child up for bullying or exclusion.”
One “expert,” pediatrics professor John Steever of New York’s Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, “sees gender-open parenting as a way to show children that they will be accepted no matter their identity,” reported NBC. He said that such a parenting style could be especially important for the imperceptibly small percentage of children who, for whatever reason, end up identifying with the gender that is opposite their biological sex.
Opined Dr. Steever: “When a child is told their entire life, ‘You are a boy, you are going to grow up to be a man, you are going to like women, you are going to be a father,’ when they start to feel, at a young age, or maybe in their adolescence that isn’t right, that doesn’t fit me, that creates that gender dysphoria.”
Thankfully, there are few parents willing to sacrifice their children on the altar of cultural experimentation. However, as news sources such as NBC and New York magazine offer favorable press to the absurd idea of raising children in a gender-neutral environment, there are enough individuals sufficiently untethered to moral and spiritual absolutes who will find raising “theybies” a novel attraction. Bobby McCullough appears to be just such an individual. Eschewing the notion that God created male and female for definite reasons, McCullough declared of the newborn he and “partner” Lesley Fleishman brought into this world recently: “Our baby is going to be whatever they want to be. And then we’re going to send somebody out into the world who is in turn not going to project their own opinions or stereotypes onto who someone else should be. I’m happy for our kid to be the vehicle in which our parents and friends get up to speed with what’s going on. Change has to happen, and we’re doing it.”