Some parents are deciding to let their children choose their own genders, and the idea is popping up in a variety of mainstream media reports.
NBC News reported that these parents view their kids not as boys or girls, but as "theybies."
How does that work?
The news outlet explains how two Cambridge, Massachusetts, parents are encouraging their children to blur the gender lines:
Three-year-old twins Zyler and Kadyn Sharpe scurried around the boys and girls clothing racks of a narrow consignment store filled with toys. Zyler, wearing rainbow leggings, scrutinized a pair of hot-pink-and-purple sneakers. Kadyn, in a T-Rex shirt, fixated on a musical cube that flashed colorful lights. At a glance, the only discernible difference between these fraternal twins is their hair — Zyler’s is brown and Kadyn’s is blond.
Is Zyler a boy or a girl? How about Kadyn? That’s a question their parents, Nate and Julia Sharpe, say only the twins can decide. The Cambridge, Mass., couple represent a small group of parents raising “theybies” — children being brought up without gender designation from birth.
The parents belong to a Facebook group that claims to have 220 members from across the nation, the report states.
“A theyby is, I think, different things to different people,” parent Nate Sharpe told NBC News. “For us, it means raising our kids with gender-neutral pronouns — so, ‘they,’ ‘them,’ ‘their,’ rather than assigning ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘him,’ ‘her’ from birth based on their anatomy.”
According to the report, parents in the U.S. are "increasingly" raising children outside traditional gender norms. That can mean allowing boys and girls to interchange traditional toys and clothing.
What are the demographics?
Families in "progressive, well-to-do enclaves," seem most likely to follow the idea, according to NBC News.
Part of this trend also involves what some might consider a deception: parents refusing to reveal the birth gender of a child.
In the report, parents Kyl and Brent Myer said they believe in being “gender creative.” For them, that means allowing a child to choose their own gender by the time they are 3 or 4 years old.
There are other examples, as well.