It’s one of the first questions people typically ask after hearing of a new arrival, but parents Kyl and Brent Courtney-Myers have refused to reveal the gender of their child Zoomer – and have done for the last two years.
Proud advocates of the Gender Creative Parenting movement, the Utah-based family are instead dedicated to raising a ‘theyby’ and using gender-neutral terms when it comes to their toddler.
“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),” mum Kyl wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
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Kyl and Brent further explain their style of parenting on their Raising Zoomer blog, and how they want their child to be free from “sex segregation, sex stereotypes, and micro-aggressions” that come from gender socialisation.
The couple also understand that Zoomer is likely to “choose a gender by the time they are three or four” but hope by that time they will have their own chance to choose their own identity.
After sharing their story on Instagram, the couple have been subject to both support and criticism.
“How dare they make such choices for the child,” wrote one critic. “It's not all about those two the child has a right to develop into who they are, not the limiting ideas of these two.”
“Please - this is just too far now,” commented another who didn’t see eye-to-eye with the couple. “Your child is a male or a female… You cannot just decide to be another gender and I think you are setting up your child to have a lack of identity and mental health problems.”
However others have sided with the theyby movement.
“Whatever floats your boat and doesn’t harm your child then go for it,” wrote one on Instagram.
“There are so many kids out there dealing with abuse and neglect. To see these parents actually giving a s**t and being loving and caring makes me think haters should be focusing their energy on helping kids that don’t have the same standard of living as young Zoomer.”
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