A mother who decided with her husband to puruse ‘gender creative parenting’ and let their child choose their own gender, has revealed how people have accused them of ‘child abuse’.
Dr Kyl Myers, who is originally from Salt Lake City but now lives in Australia with her husband Brent, told Mamamia that they’ve been flooded with social media comments, emails and even letters at her workplace from people who believe four-year-old Zoomer should be taken away.
She explained: ‘We didn’t assign a binary girl-or-boy gender to our child, Zoomer, at birth; we don’t disclose Zoomer’s genitals to people who don’t need to know.
‘We used the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their for Zoomer until they could tell us what pronouns and labels fit best; and Zoomer learns about and explores gender without stereotypical expectations or restrictions.’
The couple decided to do ‘regular pronoun checks’ with Zoomer who told them: ‘I love he/him’, around his fourth birthday in March 2016.
Dr Myers said that their methods have not ‘confused’ Zoomer, but given him a more ‘nuanced understanding of sex and gender than a lot of adults’.
In an article for Time magazine she explained: ‘Zoomer understands that some girls have penises and some boys have vulvas, and some intersex kids have vulvas and testes. Zoomer knows some daddies get pregnant and some nonbinary parents are called Zazas.
Dr Kyl Myers who lives in Australia, with her husband Brent, explained their decision to allow their child Zoomer (pictured) to choose his gender
‘When a character on a kids’ show says, “Hello, boys and girls!” Zoomer adds, “And nonbinary pals!”.’
Dr Kyl reveled many people who are initially uncertain about the concept become supporters of the movement once they understand the reasons behind gender creative parenting.
She explained her belief is that gender is the decision of an individual, rather than something that’s assigned at birth.
Labeling herself a genderqueer woman who uses they/them and she/her pronouns, Kyl said she didn’t want to make assumptions about Zoomer’s gender identity and interests.
She added: ‘I don’t want to perpetuate sexist stereotypes and oppression that children are inundated with from birth.
Kyl said she was afraid health care providers would be unwilling to support their decision to do gender creative parenting. Pictured: Kyl and Zoomer
Her decision was based on the ‘lifelong repercussions’ of how people treat boys and girls differently.
Admitting people warned Zoomer could be bullied because of their parents’ decision, Kyl explained they’ve interacted with hundreds of children, and most inquisitive kids are satisfied when Zoom says ‘I’m a person’.
Kyl said she feared health care providers wouldn’t be willing to support her during her pregnancy because of their gender creative parenting, but were fortunate enough to find those who affirmed the decision.
She revealed that after Zoomer chose the pronouns he/him around his fourth birthday, he occasionally describes himself as a ‘boy’ but prefers gender-neutral terms like ‘kid’ or ‘sibling’ instead of ‘son’ and ‘nephew’.
Kyl said it’s important that everyone is aware of the movement, even if they don’t practice it for themselves. Pictured: Kyl and Zoomer
Kyl pictured with Zoomer as a baby.
With interests ranging from bath bombs, dinosaurs to arts and crafts, Kyl said Zoomer wanders toy and clothing aisles and picks what he likes without paying attention to gendered boundaries created by marketing teams.
She concluded that despite the online harassment and awkward conversations with strangers, most people are supportive and loving.
Kyl cited a Generation Alpha study that suggested children born since 2010 are the most gender-fluid and anti-sexist generation yet, and said it shows why it’s important for everyone to be aware of the gender creative movement even if they have no interest in practicing it themselves.
In the memoir Raising Them: Our Adventure in Gender Creative Parenting, she details their experience of allowing Zoomer to choose his gender and shares how they’re decision has inspired other parents.
Kyl revealed Zoomer’s biological sex is listed on his birth certificate and passport, however there’s a need for other formal documents to have non-binary options. Pictured: Kyl, Brent and Zoomer
Kyl has also penned the blog Raising Zoomer, where she reveals how their family responds to requests about Zoomer’s gender in formal situations and shares advice for parents who want to do gender creative parenting.
In a recent post, she recalled how when Zoomer was born, the hospital only had pink girl or blue boy information cards to put in babies cots, and suggested that parents bring their own non-gendered option.
The author said they don’t mind Zoomer’s sex being listed on his birth certificate and passport, however she thinks airlines need to ‘catch up’ and offer non-binary options when passengers are booking.
She explained there have been other instances where a form asks for Zoomer’s gender and they avoid choosing an option.
Kyl said they’ve avoided listing Zoomer’s gender on forms where they believe the information is irrelevant. Pictured: Kyl and Brent with Zoomer
‘When I was trying to book a gymnastics venue for Z’s birthday party, the online form had a required gender drop down box.
‘So I just called and booked over the phone instead and said Z is gender creative, so we don’t fill out that box yet, because we don’t know, and gender is irrelevant for booking a birthday party venue.
‘The gym was cool about it, it was no big deal, and Z had the best birthday and the party hosts used they/them pronouns. A couple of assumed gender slips, and everyone was fine,’ Kyl said.
In another post, she explained gender-neutral clothing doesn’t mean her child only wears green and yellow.
Kyl said people assumed raising their child gender-neutral would limit the colours of clothes worn. Pictured: Kyl and Brent with Zoomer
The author told how people assumed Zoomer would have a limited choice of clothing, when they revealed their decision not to find out his gender before his birth.
Correcting assumptions, she explained no colour is off limits, saying: ‘Raising a gender-creative child does not mean they have a boring wardrobe.
‘In fact, it’s quite the opposite; because Z is gender-creative it feels like we have even more options! We had a blast shopping for Z before they arrived and how we shop for them hasn’t changed since their birth.’
Kyl has also included a resources section on her blog, providing sources of information about gender creative parenting for both adults and children.