There’s no better feeling during pregnancy than finally getting over the halfway mark! There’s just something magical about having the 20-week scan and the sense of reality that comes with it. It also marks the point where the planning and preparation for your little bundle of joy gets into full swing. Except for us, we’re not thinking about whether to paint the nursery pink or blue. The fact is, we’re not focusing on the gender of our baby at all.
Well, there are several reasons. Firstly, I’m living proof that what a scan says regarding gender isn’t always true. My mum has an ‘It’s A Boy’ teddy bear with quite an interesting story behind it (embarrassing for the person who got it, though!) Why? Because my parents thought they were having a boy after being told what they thought was my gender on a scan, and then found out I wasn’t a boy when I was born. Ok, the 1990s didn’t have the best ultrasound machines, but you can see why you shouldn’t rely on your scan results. My body produces too much testosterone, and, as a result, I have a lot of masculine features like excess hair (especially face and neck!). Upper estimates suggest that 2-3% of the world’s population are intersex like myself. That’s about the same number of people born with red hair, so it’s not as rare as people are lead to believe, and yes, intersex people can and do have children!
There’s also the simple fact that gender and genitalia are two different things. Those who have found Family Of Wanderlusters through my travel blog, Instagram or YouTube channels, or through Alex and I sharing our story via The Positive Birth Company for Pride will already know that Alex is transgender, and he is very much of the opinion that colours and clothes should not be gendered, which I agree with! Will our child be brought up entirely gender-neutral to enable them to explore their own identity as they grow? I wish we could do that, but the world is so gendered that all we can do is show them that toys, clothes, activities, colours etc., are not gender-specific. If they want to play with lego? Then they can. Want to play football? Go ahead. Want a dolls house? Then we’ll get them one. Wear dresses? Fine. You get the picture.
For some in the intersex, transgender, and non-binary communities, gender reveals hurt. They reinforce the idea that girls like pink, wear dresses and play with dolls and makeup and need to be wrapped up in cotton wool, whilst boys like blue and play rough, which certainly isn’t the case. Not only does it reinforce dangerous stereotypes surrounding gender, but it also erases those who are intersex and reinforces the idea that we don’t exist along with those who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming. Let’s face it, they aren’t gender reveals, they are genital reveals, and frankly, children shouldn’t be treated differently based on what’s between their legs.
Last but not least, on top of reinforcing gender stereotypes, gender reveals also have an environmental cost. There have been instances where these reveals have caused wildfires, explosions, and worse, affecting biodiverse ecosystems for years to come. There are also news articles online linking them to deaths when the reveals have gone horribly wrong, and nobody wants that on their conscience.
Let’s face it, we’re in 2021, and frankly, the outdated practice of throwing a gender reveal party needs to stop. As for those who have gender reveals just to celebrate their bundle of joy, that’s what baby showers are for, and you can easily have a gender-neutral themed one to do just that!