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kottke.org posts about Alex Mallis

Raising Baby Grey, a Gender-Neutral Child

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 24, 2020

In this short film from Alex Mallis, we meet a Bronx couple who are raising their child Grey in a gender-neutral way until they make a decision for themselves. No single gender wardrobes or toy collections and they/them pronouns.

Really the goal here is, it’s not about me trying to force anything on Grey, it’s actually the exact opposite. And we don’t know their gender yet, and when they tell us, they’ll tell us. And it might change over time and that’s okay too.

Crispin Long wrote an accompanying piece for the New Yorker on the film.

Watching Grey’s parents navigate this terrain inspires questions about how Grey might one day respond to being brought up this way. Of course, it’s impossible to parent without error, and society does its share of damage, to many of us, without the help of parents. Asking a child to inhabit such a complex and politicized position is demanding, but so is asking a child to perform femininity or masculinity. I get the sense that many trans people would unambivalently prefer to have been raised without the gender they were assigned at birth and its attendant expectations. For me, it’s less clear. If my parents had made every effort to free me from the strictures of the gender binary, I might have rebelled against their liberal piety or appreciated their efforts — or maybe both.