Two-year-old, Utah-born, toddler Zoomer is a theyby.
Zoomer has a crop of delightfully overgrown, blonde hair, really enjoys ice cream and likes playing with toy trucks and getting a manicure in equal measure; all aspects which shouldn’t be determined by the child’s sex.
The idea behind the concept is that gender is socially constructed, whereas the sex of a person is biologically determined.
Zoomer’s mum, Kyl Myer, argues that this prevents people asserting gendered beliefs onto their child. On her blog Raising Zoomer, she says this allows a “stereotype-free early childhood.”
“The sex does not tell us anything about the child’s personality, temperament, favourite colour, dietary preferences, sense of humour, attitudes toward climate change, or any of their other unique traits,” she writes.
“Just like the fact they have two arms doesn’t tell us anything else about them, except they have two arms.”
Is it possible to raise a child as gender neutral? The Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio.
Documenting this process on their Instagram (@raisingzoomer) and blog, parents Kyl and and Brent use they/them/their pronouns when introducing Zoomer, and “don’t disclose their sex to people who don’t need to know.”
Something that albeit can get political when it comes to barring grandparents from bath time.
“We didn’t assign a gender to Zoomer,” Kyl wrote in a caption on their Instagram.
“We actively work to provide Zoomer with an environment that celebrates their individuality. We expose them to all kinds of toys, clothes, colours and activities and we encourage their interests and self-expression.”
The goal is not to pretend that gender is non-existent – something that a walk down the toy aisle at Kmart will tell you is impossible, but to allow the child to try to understand and explore their gender on their own terms instead of having those ideas imprinted onto them from birth.
Take the example of the traditional colour schemes like pink for girls, blue for boys – an idea Kyl tries to reject.
“We were just like, ‘Let’s make it look like a rainbow exploded in this house,’ ” she told The Cut.
Having completed a bachelor’s degree in gender studies, with a master’s and doctorate degree in sociology, and a Ted Talk on the subject with nearly 40,000 views, Kyl says she’s always planned on parenting her children this way.
“I knew that I wanted to parent like this years before I ever got pregnant,” she told The Cut.
“I knew I wanted to parent like this before I met the father of my child.”
Despite this, she knows eventually Zoomer will choose a gender for themselves, however, she rests in the fact that they’ll do so when they’re comfortable.
“By not revealing their sex, and by treating them in a gender creative way, Z will have the freedom to explore and create their own identity, outside of the restrictions and expectations of traditional gender norms,” she says.
In the end, gender creative parenting is something both Kyl and Brent wholeheartedly believe in, with a “happy and healthy and kind, curious, and clever” Zoomer, the byproduct of the process.
As Kyl wrote on her Instagram, “We are so proud to be Z’s parents and very confident in our parenting decisions.”
“Every parent does what they think is best for their kids. People are uncomfortable with change, that’s ok. But change is coming!
“Buckle up and enjoy the ride!”
And we can’t wait.
Would you do the same with your child? Tell us in the comments.