A mother’s “theyby” love is getting some serious hate.
Kyl Myers, Ph.D., the genderqueer parent of a 4-year-old, is being accused of “child abuse” for allowing her toddler to decide their own gender.
“I’ve received hundreds of messages and comments on Instagram and e-mails from people I don’t know, telling me my child should be taken away from me,” Myers writes in lifestyle outlet MamaMia of her and husband Brent’s choice to pursue “gender-creative parenting.”
“For us, this means we didn’t assign a binary girl-or-boy gender to our child, Zoomer, at birth,” the sociologist writes of her “theyby,” a genderless term for baby.
“We don’t disclose Zoomer’s genitals to people who don’t need to know.”
Raising Zoomer with gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their empowers the child to “learn about and explore gender without stereotypical expectations or restrictions,” says Myers, a Salt Lake City expat based in Australia.
She and Brent regularly conducted “pronoun checks” with Zoomer, asking their little one which titles best fit their fancy.
Zoomer announced “I love he/him” around his fourth birthday in March, declaring his preferred designation.
Myers, author of “Raising Them: Our Adventure in Gender Creative Parenting,” writes that she did not prescribe her child a gender in an effort to abolish sexist stereotypes that children are inundated with at birth.
The doctor of human behavior and social interaction adopted the nontraditional parenting style after observing the “lifelong repercussions” of how people treat boys and girls differently.
“I believe gender is up to an individual to determine and does not need to be assigned at birth,” she writes. “I didn’t want to make assumptions about what my child’s gender identity and interests would be; I wanted to let my kid tell me who they are, instead of the other way around.”
Despite mom-shamers’ concerns the tyke would grow up “confused” or “bullied,” Zoomer has always been very clear about who he is, Myers said.
“Curious kids would ask Zoomer, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?,’ ” Myers writes, recalling her child’s early-on exchanges with playmates. “Zoomer would confidently respond, ‘I’m a person.’ ”
Though he occasionally refers to himself as a “boy,” Myers notes that Zoomer prefers gender-neutral terms “kid” and “sibling” to “son” and “nephew.”
“When a character on a kids’ show says, ‘Hello, boys and girls!,’ Zoomer adds, ‘And nonbinary pals!,’ ” the proud mom gushed.
A lover of bath bombs, Lego and dinosaurs, Zoomer is “confident in his self-determined gender identity and expression,” Myers writes.
Though forced to contend with “online harassment and awkward conversations with strangers,” Myers says her family receives an abundance of love and support from members and allies of the growing gender-creative parenting community.
“Even if someone has no interest in practicing gender-creative parenting with their own kids, it’s important that everyone is aware of this movement,” she writes, noting Generation Alpha (kids born since 2010) is estimated to be the most gender-fluid and anti-sexist generation yet.
“Seeing as how these children are parented and educated by millennials who are fighting for gender equity,” Myers writes, “I reckon this young generation will add a lot of energy to the gender revolution, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
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