Florida mom raising her 11-month-old child gender-neutral and refers to the baby as 'theyby' so they can decide their sex at an older age
30-year-old Ari Dennis is raising the newest member of her family, 11-month-old Sparrow, gender-neutral and refers to them using only gender-neutral pronouns
A Florida family has decided they will be raising their youngest member gender neutrally, and are referring to the child as a "theyby" to avoid revealing their sex. They are also referring to the child using pronouns such as "they" and "them" and have said they can decide their gender on their own at a later age.
According to Daily Mail, 30-year-old Ari Dennis refers to her 11-month-old baby, Sparrow, as a "theyby," which is a relatively new term used by parents who believe that sex is biological but that gender is a societal construction. Only parents and caregivers know the sex and it's used to keep the child's sex from the public to prevent people from inflicting gender-based stereotypes on their child.
Dennis revealed she and her partner chose to go down this route with Sparrow because their older child, Hazel, discovered their gender at the age of four — which experts say is the time around which a child begins grasping the complex concept.
Speaking about their approach in an interview with WTSP, the mom said, "We did not assign a sex at birth which means when they were born, they had genitals, we know what they are, we just chose to acknowledge that those genitals don't indicate anything about gender."
"We are in no way prohibiting Sparrow from having a gender, and we're not forcing them to be one gender or another," she insisted. "We did not assign a sex at birth, which means when they were born they had genitals and we know what they are. We just chose to acknowledge that those genitals don't indicate anything."
She also revealed she does not restrict the 11-month-old from playing with any color or toy. "There's nothing wrong with pink. There's nothing wrong with blue. There's something wrong with forcing kids into roles."
In another interview with NBC, the mom — who has started a Facebook page called "Ari Not Sorry" chronicling her parenting journey — said she's also careful to use both masculine and feminine adjectives around Sparrow. "I just call my baby 'beautiful' and 'pretty' and 'handsome' and 'strong,' back and forth. I'll use both, and I'll compliment different manifestations of both personality traits."
Sparrow's birth certificate lists their sex as "unknown" and Dennis said not even her mother knew the child's sex for the first three months even though she was living with their family. Hazel is careful to not reveal the 11-month-old's sex as well, referring to them as a little sibling and not sister or brother.
The mother insists this isn't as confusing as it seems, claiming no one has made a mistake in identifying Sparrow as theyby. "We didn't want Sparrow to grow up in an environment devoid of gender. It's not real life," she said. "We want them to experience all genders. So them going out in public and people treating them like a girl, getting treated like a boy and then getting treated like someone you can't tell shows them what the diverse options there are."