April 5 2017
A gender educator-turned-blogger is aghast that people would dare ask pregnant women about their baby’s gender.
Writing on the progressive parenting website Romper, Reaca Pearl bemoans how even strangers are nosy about her pregnancy. That’s a common enough complaint, but the gender question especially sticks in her craw.
She doesn’t just consider it just obnoxious; it’s “actually a hurtful, damaging question,” as well as an “archaic and misogynist” one, she writes.
Not only does the question reinforce “arbitrary gender roles,” Pearl says, but it also reinforces the gender binary and confuses gender with sexual anatomy.
“In the question, ‘Are you having a boy or a girl?’ where does intersex fit?” Pearl writes. “I’ll tell you: it doesn’t. This kind of societal collusion to erase an entire biological identity is repulsive to me, and contributed to hundreds of years of medically unnecessary genital mutilation on infants,” she says, linking to an article about surgeries on children born with some combination of male and female genitalia.
Pearl describes herself as a “genderqueer woman” who works as a therapist, specializing in sex, gender and sexual trauma. She also blogged last month about how she’s parenting a “gender creative” child, who at age 7 already expresses strong preferences about personal pronouns.
With that background, it’s not surprising that questions about a baby’s gender irk Pearl. It’s a query she considers unanswerable.
“If having a trans child has taught me anything, it’s that it doesn’t matter what you assign your child at an ultrasound,” she writes. “They will tell you their gender when they’re good and ready.”
Apparently, we’ve gone full Portlandia.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.