FAQs

Frequently asked questions

About

What is gender open parenting?


Gender open parenting is about letting a child define their own gender and sex from birth. A gender neutral pronoun (often they/them/theirs) is used instead of he or she, until that child identifies their own gender/sex/pronoun. Gender open parenting often also includes legal strategies for creating a gender open identification on passports and birth certificates, if possible.




What's a theyby?


A theyby is a cute term for the kids of parents doing gender open parenting. And no, we don't really think our theyby isn't a baby. :)




But isn't your child really a boy or a girl?


We won't know until they tell us! As humans, we have boiled down a huge range of possibilities into two tiny boxes. Body parts are given meaning by society as a whole- and not everyone with those parts experience their body in the same way.




What words can I use instead of boy or girl?


We're so used to gendering kids, it can be hard to come up with alternatives to "boy" or "girl" Here are some options: kiddo, cutie, munchkin, tot, baby, infant, little one, their name, child and for relationships: sibkid or nibling instead of niece or nephew grandchild instead of granddaughter or grandson child, baby, kid or tot instead of son/daughter class, friends or folks instead of 'boys and girls'




How can I show support for someone I know doing gender open parenting?


Thanks for asking! Here are some ways to show support: -using they/them/their as a pronoun for the child until you are told otherwise -read and learn more on your own about gender open parening -talking to your friends/families/colleagues about the benefit of gender open parenting




I have more questions- how can I find answers to them?


Asking questions is great although not everyone will have the time or energy to respond. Be mindful of the relationship you have with the family and also what you know about how the family feels about responding to questions before you ask. You can also submit your question to theybyparenting@gmail.com and we'll post it as well as an answer on the site! Another option is to do research for yourself-- check out the 'resources' tab for great articles, websites, books, and videos!




What's the difference between gender open parenting, gender neutral parenting, gender creative parenting and other terms?


For some people, there is no difference between these names and they are used interchangeably. For other people, the name they use is important and they use it for a reason. Try to use whatever term a family uses for themselves. This site uses gender open parenting because it means to leave a child's gender open until the child determines it for themself.





Misconceptions

So you're raising your kid without gender?


Gender open does not mean without gender or gender neutral- there are a whole universe of gender and sex expressions out there and we affirm our child's right to be whatever combination of these expressions work for them.




So you want your child to be non-binary?


Nope.. we want our child to be who they are-- that might be non-binary or trans or a girl or a boy or a combination of these or any other word that feels right to describe themself.




Isn't this a social experiment?


It's not an experiment to parent in a way that is consistent with the parent's values and community norms. Every parent makes choices for their child based upon their own cultural values and norms. Gender open parenting families not only accept the gender a child identifies with, but also are pro active in creating an environment which supports the child's right to self-determine their gender from birth.





Critiques

Aren't you harming your child?


Letting our children be exactly who they are and no making assumptions about their gender or sex will do the opposite- allow them to grow up knowing that their expressions will be honoured and respected by their parent(s). Many people have been harmed and limited by a narrow, binary sex and gender system and gender open parenting creates freedom and limitless possibilities for our children.




But the chances of your kid being trans is so low...


Well, actually, we don't have accurate stats on who is on the trans spectrum, and even if we did, it would be largely under reported due to transphobia and cissexism. If our kid does turn out to be trans, then we've created an ideal environment for them to be who they are from the getgo. And if the child isn't trans, we've still created an environment where our child can be whomever they are from the getgo and reduced the likelyhood of getting pidgeonholed into a particular role when it comes to clothes, toys, displays of emotions, behaviour, etc or affected by pressure from society to be a certain kind of boy or girl.




I don't agree with gender open parening. What can I do about it?


Gender open parenting families know that not everyone agrees with this way of parenting. Arguments against this way of parenting are everywhere so gender open parenting families don't need anyone to explain these arguments. Rest assured, families who are gender open have made this decision thoughtfully. The best thing you can do when you disagree about gender open parenting (and any other parenting decisions) are to keep those opinions to yourself and spend your energy on caring, loving and building relationships with this family who has included you in their lives.





Do you have a question? 

Email it to

theybyparenting@gmail.com

and we'll answer it on our website!

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