Author and sociologist Kyl Myers announced late last month that the “they-by” she and her partner Brent Courtney were raising as “gender-neutral” has “chosen” to be a boy and use he/him pronouns.
Myers, The Salt Lake Tribune reported, “started writing about ‘gender creative’ parenting in 2015 before Zoomer was born. Myers described the challenges and joys of parenting without gender markers in a blog, RaisingZoomer.com, and on Instagram — and received international attention when she was interviewed for New York magazine on the subject. She went on to write a book, equal parts memoir and sociological treatise, ‘Raising Them,’ that was released in September.”
Sometime before “Raising Them” was published, during one of the family’s regular “pronoun checks,” Zoomer informed his mother that he would like to use masculine pronouns.
“My family does regular pronoun checks with one another. As we’re putting shoes on to head out to run errands, Zoomer asks, ‘Hey mom. What pronouns do you want me to use for you today?’” Myers, who identifies as “genderqueer,” wrote on Instagram, announcing Zoomer’s chosen gender. “Some days I say, ‘I’m very they/them this morning.’ Other days I say, ‘she/her feels good right now, thanks for asking,'”
“We had a pronoun check back in March 2020, around Z’s 4th birthday, that was quite special. I asked, ‘What pronouns are you into for yourself these days, Zoomer?’ And Zoomer responded, ‘I love he/him!'” Myers explained, adding that Zoomer still prefers gender-neutral terms over gendered language. “Zoomer has used the term ‘boy’ to describe himself a few times, but still prefers the terms ‘kid’ and ‘person,’ and just being called Zoomer.”
After the four-year-old announced his pronoun selection, Myers informed close friends and family before making the gender news public.
“Since then, we let family, friends, & Zoomer’s teachers know that Z uses he/him pronouns & everyone got on board & made the pronoun switch,” Myers said. “We caught ourselves using they/them & quickly corrected to he/him. Z told me once, ‘It’s okay. I like they/them, too.’ I smiled at Zoomer’s grace, ‘But if you LOVE he/him then it’s really important to me to use the pronouns you love.’ Zoomer smiled back, ‘Yeah, I love he/him.'”
Some things, at least, have not changed for Myers and her partner. In the 2018 New York magazine interview, the pair pledged that “We don’t disclose Zoomer’s genitals to people who don’t need to know,” and they continue to refuse to say whether Zoomer’s chosen pronouns align with Zoomer’s physical anatomy. They are also adamant that Zoomer could change his preferred pronoun at any moment, which is why they hesitated to reveal that Zoomer had chosen a gender.
“[S]haring Z’s pronouns doesn’t give any information about his reproductive anatomy,” she added in the recent post to Instagram.
“My partner, Brent, and I do something called ‘gender creative parenting,’ Myers said back in 2018. “For us, this means we didn’t assign a binary girl-or-boy gender to our child, Zoomer, at birth; we don’t disclose Zoomer’s genitals to people who don’t need to know; we used the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their for Zoomer until they could tell us what pronouns and labels fit best; Zoomer learns about and explores gender without stereotypical expectations or restrictions. Brent and I are just two among thousands of people doing gender creative parenting all over the world.”
“I knew Zoomer would find pronouns that fit,” Myers wrote on Instagram. “Z knows he can use he/him pronouns for the rest of his life, alternate pronouns like I do, forego pronouns, or invent new ones. The gender creative adventure doesn’t stop here.”
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