Whitneé and J. Garrett-Walker are mothers who have decided to raise their child free of the gender binary. Married since 2016, the couple decided to start a family in 2019, which deepened their talks about possible parenting styles.
“We had all these conversations about how we would parent or how we wouldn't parent and what types of things we wanted to do differently that maybe our parents did or didn't do,” J tells Yahoo Life. “The conversation about gender didn't happen until much later in the pregnancy. And then I kind of sprung it on her and I was like, ‘Hey, I don't think we should tell anyone the sex of the baby.’”
The couple had already decided to be surprised by the baby's sex at birth, but Whitneé was initially thrown by J’s suggestion. She was excited to share the baby’s sex with her family, and the two had deep discussions about how this would work. “We had to figure out how we come to a balance of what was comfortable for me and what was comfortable for her,” says Whitneé.
For J, her suggestion that they take the emphasis off of gender was inspired by her own experiences.
“As a person who's gender non-conforming, I think that did influence my decision to have this conversation with my wife before the baby was born, because people put so many gendered expectations on children. There were a lot of gendered expectations placed on me as a young child,” says J. “Even as I went into adulthood, and at the juncture which I started to deviate from the expected gender expectations, people had a lot of thoughts and feelings about that. For me, I felt like I didn't want my child to have to go through that.”