The idea of parents raising “theybies” is picking up steam. What started decades ago as a push to make parenting more gender-neutral has morphed into attempts to erase gender completely until a child is old enough to “choose” his or her own gender identity.
National news outlets have heralded the idea of “gender-creative parenting” and highlighted its heroes: parents in mostly progressive pockets of America who embrace the often-arduous task of ensuring their young children are not labeled as male or female.
An NBC News story last week featured Nate and Julia Sharpe, parents of twin 3-year-olds, Zyler and Kadyn. The Sharpes, of Cambridge, Mass., have raised their twins using only gender-neutral, plural pronouns: they, them, and their. The parents asked the hospital medical staff to put the newborn twins in their arms without announcing their biological sex. The mystery lasted only a few hours, until the new parents had to change their diapers, but most people in their life still do not know the children’s biological sex.
Kyl Myers, who has a popular blog and Instagram account about raising her child Zoomer as “gender-creative,” told New York Magazine, “I just think parenting in general is a social experiment. … Zoomer is going to have a gender. They are going to let us know what their gender is, and it will probably happen when they’re 3 or 4. We can all just get onboard, you know.”
Myers said that she and her husband, Brent Courtney, did not decide to parent this way because they thought Zoomer would be “gender nonconforming,” but, “it is actually very possible that Zoomer will be gender nonconforming because we are not raising them to conform to a binary gender.”
Michelle Cretella, executive director of the socially conservative American College of Pediatricians, foresees developmental problems for children like Zoomer.
“These parents are sabotaging the cognitive and psychological development of their children,” she told me. “Our bodies declare our sex and tell us who we are at the most fundamental level.”
Even secular medical experts see problems ahead for these children.
“Once your child meets the outside world, which may be day care, or preschool, or grandparents—it’s pretty much impossible to maintain a gender-free state,” Lise Eliot, professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School, told NBC News. “And depending on how conventional your community is, you could be setting your child up for bullying or exclusion.”
Although no one is born with an awareness of being male or female, Cretella said gender identity forms early. Babies in the womb can distinguish between male and female voices, 3-month-old infants can distinguish male and female faces, and most 3-year-olds can identify themselves as a boy or girl, she noted, adding that by age 5, most kids understand that girls become women and boys become men.
Cretella said transgender ideology is particularly dangerous because children are cognitively and psychologically immature: “If children cannot trust the reality of their physical bodies, who or what can they trust? To tell children the lie that they can choose their sex undermines their reality testing before they even know that there is a reality to be understood.”
Jim Denison, the former pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas and the founder of the Denison Forum, compares allowing a child to choose his or her gender to sex-selective abortions, noting they both are symptoms of a “underlying condition” that can be traced to Genesis 3 and the fall: “At their heart, [these parents] succumb to the temptation, ‘You will be like God.’”