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How should I respond when people ask if my child is a boy or a girl?

Updated: Nov 10, 2018

It's hard to know how to respond when someone asks the gender of your child, especially if you're caught off guard or was up all night with a crying baby. Read on for some common responses.

Knowing how to answer this question can be hard, especially if you have been caught off guard, you're tired after being up all night with a crying baby, or you don't feel safe to respond. The first thing you have to decide is do you feel safe to answer. One time I was alone on the subway with my baby when someone very aggressively demanded to know if my child was a boy or a girl- in that moment I just blurted out a binary gender to get him to leave us alone. Most of the time though, I felt safe enough to answer. The question can come from a cashier, a doting person on the bus, or the new parent that wants to bond over your new life stage. Answers I have used that worked well include "Actually, we're doing gender open parenting which means we don't know our baby's gender until they tell us, and we are using they/them pronouns". Sometimes, I might just respond "I don't know they can't talk yet". Other times parents might say "They are a baby!" or "They are (insert name here)". Try out a few of these responses and see which feels right for you. You may use different responses depending on the situation where you're asked. Do you feel open to answering questions or are you in introvert mode? Is this a relationship you're looking to build or are you trying to stop the intrusive question in it's tracks? Do you have the energy to educate today? Is the person you're talking to likely to be responsive? Do you feel safe? Considering all these questions will help you figure out the right response for you!


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