Recently I came across an Instagram account called Raising Zoomer. The account follows parents Kyl and Brent Courtney-Myers who have refused to reveal the gender of 2 year old Zoomer. They are raising child, Zoomer as a “theyby” and using gender-neutral terms when referring to their toddler.
They have said that with time Zoomer will select their own gender, this article explains further.
What do you think? I asked my TNIM Talks bloggers………..
Shona from Thriving Sistas
I have to admit, as modern and free-thinking as I like to think myself to be, I had some reservations
on reading this particular story. Now, after having a little time to consider the (quite controversial)
subject, I have relaxed my stance a little. Although I would NOT choose to raise my children in this
way, it seems pretty clear that the parents in this story are loving and devoted, and only want the
best for their child.
My son has always had what I consider to be a ‘male brain’. He is quite analytical and mechanical in
his thinking, and as a little boy had a serious passion for building and demolishing. He LOVED trucks.
From around the age of two one of the highlights of his week was standing with me on the street
corner, watching the council garbage truck as it went about its business.
Did I (or his father) in any way influence his passion for the garbage truck – because we thought it
was what boys ‘should’ do? No. I didn’t find it particular pleasant standing on the street smelling the
garbage and listening to the horrible noises. But I do remember finding it fascinating at the time that
he was drawn to trucks and garbage and construction.
Yes, it did cross my mind that we were somehow making him be a ‘boy’ by encouraging him in this
way. But we didn’t, not really. He wanted to be with the trucks, and we let him. He also very
occasionally played with the dolls and prams owned by his sister, and we similarly didn’t pay a whole
lot of heed to that.
Yet we never made the conscious and deliberate decision to raise him, or our daughter, as gender
neutral. And part of me still thinks that doing so would be going too far. I believe that most little
children know that they’re either a boy or a girl, regardless of how much neutrality we endeavour to
raise them with. The Utah couple have said they understand that their child will probably identify
with a particular gender by the age of three or four.
So, will there have been any real benefit to the neutrality of the first three or four years? I doubt it.
But I also don’t believe that the child will suffer any major psychological trauma due to it, either. As
long as the child is receiving ample love and emotional support, he or she has just as much chance as
any of us into growing into a healthy, functioning and stable adult. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Shona is a divorced single mother (to two teenagers) and writer from Australia.
After surviving the pain of the sudden and unexpected breakdown of her marriage, her passion now lies in supporting and empowering women to not only survive but THRIVE through change and upheaval – whatever the cause of that change and upheaval.
If you are currently, or have ever, or will POTENTIALLY ever go through any of these sucky situations then please head over to Shona’s site and check it out:
- Separation and/or Divorce
- Feeling unsure of yourself or where you’re headed due to ANY significant life change or upheaval
- A tendency to give your power away in relationships
- Not realising your true worth OR the empowered goddess that you truly are
Kirsty from That Noise Is Mine
I am very open minded when it comes to gender, sexuality and choices. From the time my eldest son was a very young child I made a promise to myself to embrace all of his choices regardless of how society views them.
Fast forward 11 years and here I am a mum to 4 boys. They know they’re boys, everyone knows they’re boys but I don’t strictly have traditional “boy” toys, clothes and activities for them.
Over time I have also become very relaxed and free range when it comes to parenting. Don’t get me wrong, they have boundaries but there really is something magical about watching a child being allowed to thrive and grow without restrictions.
I’m open to anything they want to try. If they want to play with barbies, they play with barbies. If they want to play with trucks, they play with trucks. If they want to wear pink, they wear pink. If they want to play football that’s fine but so is gymnastics.
We go through life telling our kids, don’t let anyone put you in a box, don’t follow the crowd, be yourself, yet sometimes we do that as parents because that’s what society says we should do. This child has a penis and therefore he must play in the dirt, have short hair and wear blue. Is that hypocritical?
My youngest son has only just had his first hair cut at aged 19 months. His hair was shoulder length before I got it cut and he would constantly be referred to as a girl. I found it interesting how his older brothers would handle this when their friends who didn’t know their brother would refer to him as a girl “just because he’s a boy doesn’t mean he has to have short hair!” they’d say. I was proud.
And for the record, I had his hair cut because he didn’t like having it brushed not because society was telling me he should have short hair.
B2 used to have a tendency towards “girl” behaviours and activities. He’d wear pink, he’d pretend to put make up on, he’d play with barbie dolls and he was not afraid to embrace everything pink. Why should he? This was perfectly acceptable to me, it’s only parts of society it wasn’t acceptable to.
But whilst I embraced this and supported him, part of me constantly worried. The world is a cruel place to people who don’t fit the “norm”, people are cruel and as a parent it’s hard let your child be exposed to that cruelty so I began to wonder if I had made the right choice by embracing his love of all things pink.
As he has gotten older though he is now gravitating more towards boy traditions and activities. I’m not sure if that’s due to the influences of his friends and school or if that’s where his identity has fallen.
Raising a child as a Theyby. Would I do it? Yes. I believe a child should be allowed to grow and explore however they want to. It’s not up to me to tell them they should play football and wear blue. It’s my job to guide them, teach them right from wrong, support them and give them everything they possibly need to become a well rounded adult. So why not let them explore and grow into whoever they want to be.
Whether you raise your child as gender neutral or gender specific, if they identify with the opposite gender there’s always going to be the same questions about “why am I different?”, I think it’s how you handle it as a parent, whether your embrace those differences or banish the differences will determine how the child then grows into an adult.
So, tell us below. What are your thoughts?
Kirsty is the founder of That Noise Is Mine.
An established blogger, writer and business owner raising 4 children independently. Kirsty is determined to succeed in this new life forced upon her.