An upcoming episode of 60 Minutes has previewed an explosive segment on a new parenting trend called "theybies." The concept, which has gained traction since about 2018, involves raising children without gender designation from birth, referred to by their parents using they/them/their pronouns.
The previewed segment has garnered over four million views on social media, shedding light on an "unprecedented" radical parenting trend that lets young children choose their own gender.
"We're not trying to eliminate gender, we're just really helping kids find their path to it," said one parent who is raising their child without gender.
Another parent featured in the preview said, "I'm letting this little person be who they want to be."
While parents are increasingly raising their kids outside of traditional gender norms, radical gender-open parenting is different because they do not reveal the sex of their child to anyone, in hopes the child won't be "pigeonholed" into gender stereotypes.
Developmental experts told America's NBC News that while it's a noble method, gender-open parenting may not hold up once kids enter a gendered world. "Once your child meets the outer world, which may be daycare, or preschool, or grandparents, it's pretty much impossible to maintain a gender-free state," said Chicago Medical School professor of neuroscience Lise Eliot.
However, Christia Spears Brown, a developmental psychologist and author, told NBC that it's important for parents of theybies to prepare their children for "a society that's really obsessed with a gender binary." "And people are going to want to put that child into one of those binary categories. And so for children to not be confused, parents have to give kids the language and the understanding of recognizing that 'I'm not taking part in this binary'," she said.
While this parenting trend is gaining popularity among some parents, it's also sparking controversy among others. Some critics argue that raising children without gender could confuse and harm them in the long run. But supporters of gender-open parenting argue that it allows children to freely explore their gender identity without the societal pressures of gender norms.