gender reveal parties are problematic, pass it on.

A photo of me, with every single “They/Them” pin I own.

Gender reveal parties are inherently problematic, and sometimes baffling, to say the least.  In Feminist 101, so much has already been said about the idea that “pink is for girls and blue is for boys,” and the problems associated with gender roles and stereotypes. We all know the facts—gender roles confine people and restrict them into being an idealized version of what a “man” or “woman” should be. Why would you want to push the notion of a gender binary onto a child that hasn’t even taken a breath of fresh air yet? The idea of a gender binary is a flawed and limited way of looking at what it means to be human, furthermore, the notion is rooted in indoctrination, colonialism, and anti-LGBTQIA+ bigotry. The truth is, gender is a spectrum.

And not only that—gender is an IDENTITY. Sex and gender are not synonymous terms. Sex can be determined through outward sexual characteristics, hormone levels in the body, and genetic makeup. Gender, on the other hand, is an IDENTITY, which can correlate to the sex you were assigned, or it could not. You have to understand that “Gender Reveal Parties” are really “Sex Reveal Parties,” or if we want to take it further, “Genital Reveal Parties.” Why would you want to throw a whole party based around the genitals of a baby? To make a determination of what the “gender” of your baby is, means that you are deciding what their identities are and not allowing them to decide for themselves.

Projecting gender stereotypes onto an unborn baby can be ESPECIALLY problematic after taking the time to consider the reported fact that 1.7% of the population is intersex (your odds of having a child that is intersex are the same odds of having twins or a child with red hair), meaning that they aren’t on the male/female binary at all. Parents who are obsessed with projecting this gender binary onto their Intersex children can and have inflicted genital mutilation, coercive surgeries, and hormone treatments onto babies and children without considering their needs or wants. Cosmetic genital surgeries on intersex people have been deemed a human rights violation by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, and yet these surgeries are still legal in every state in the United States. When we create new “traditions” like Gender Reveal Parties, we are upholding a gender binary that doesn’t exist which is unquestionably detrimental to intersex children.

This also begs me to ask the question—what if your child is like me? What if your child one day expresses themselves as transgender, non-binary, pangender, genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, etc.? What if your child’s idea of gender isn’t the same as the one you defined for them before they were even brought into this world? By having a gender reveal party, you’re spending an awful amount of time, money, or both on the assumption that your child will grow up to be cisgender. If my mom had these parties, she would’ve been wrong twice, since my sister and I are both transgender. By pressing your preconceived notion that your child’s genitals have any relevance on who they’ll be when you grow up, you may be spending your kid’s childhood with them believing that you won’t support them if they come out.

At my gender reveal party, where I came out to a group of friends that I was non-binary.

I suggest that we leave alligator-biting-watermelons, blue vs pink explosions, and “rifles or ruffles?” gender reveal parties behind in 2020. Let’s not push archaic beliefs of gender and sexuality onto the next generation. I want to be there to celebrate you and your child. I am excited for whatever new addition you have to your family, but please understand that the idea of a gender reveal party is sexist and transphobic. It’s isolating to trans, intersex, and gender-nonconforming folks. Its detrimental to the growth of the next generation.

TLDR; It’s 2020 and the only gender reveal parties that are valid now are trans people throwing gender reveal parties for themselves.

about rian

Hi! I just wanted to start this section with a “Thanks for reading my blog!” I wouldn’t be writing this if you weren’t here to read it.

A photo of me, at Outside Lands in San Francisco. This was the first event I went to in a wheelchair.

I’m Rian, a trans, non-binary and disabled activist and actor living in Sacramento, California. I started documenting my journey of navigating my life as a newly disabled person on my Instagram in 2018 after experiencing a brain injury, resulting in a diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). While being treated by several doctors including cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, and geneticists, I was also revealed to have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic disorder causing defects in my connective tissue.

Before I was sick, I had already came out to a handful of friends that I was non-binary. I didn’t feel comfortable with outwardly expressing my trans-ness beforehand, but I was getting weary of pretending to be a cis-person while I lived in a mindset and a body that I wasn’t comfortable with. After becoming chronically ill, I realized that life was too short to make everyone happy. And that the only way that I would be truly happy would be to live my own truth.

After attempting to re-enter the acting scene as a non-binary wheelchair user and experiencing ableism and transphobia in both fashion and theater, I had to learn to advocate for myself as a disabled and trans person, specifically the immediate needs for accessibility and accountability. Since then, I have found great friends and amazing organizations along the way that took a chance on me, and I really wouldn’t be this far without them.

So, this is my blog dedicated to living life through the obstacles of ableism and transphobia, raising awareness to others who may not have these challenges, and, hopefully, helping others like me not feel so alone.

xx, Rian