Raising Them by Kyl Myers

raising themIn Raising Them, sociologist Kyl Myers shares how they and their husband Brent are raising their first child, Zoomer, without gender boundaries; with complete freedom to determine their own gender. Zoomer is still quite young, so the book doesn’t go beyond the preschool years. And although this is a memoir, not a how-to book, Myers is clear and detailed about the thought processes that led to each decision they made along the way. Myers argues that working toward gender equality must start in childhood, by breaking down assumptions and boundaries when it comes to appearance, toys, activities, etc. This takes a lot of work, because the gender binary is pushed everywhere, even in situations where it shouldn’t even be a thing.

There is a good bit of privilege throughout: financial stability, race, class, healthcare, the ability to be very selective with school choice, the ability to travel, and seemingly everyone in their immediate sphere was incredibly supportive. Unless you’re solidly and securely middle class (or higher), portions of the book might feel a bit out of touch. (Myers is aware of and acknowledges this privilege.)

Cis parents who are open to raising children in ways that help them discover their own gender identities will glean a lot from this book. I think trans and non-binary parents will find there’s not much by way of new insight, but will still be able to enjoy this as it is, as one family’s memoir.

On that note, Myers identified as cis when writing Raising Them (it’s mentioned in the book a couple times), but briefly notes that their gender-creative child-rearing process encouraged them to explore their own gender identity as well. Their Instagram bio currently shows that they are genderqueer (they/she pronouns). I would love to read a future, followup memoir that talks about their own gender journey. A memoir like that, with Myers’s light, positive, engaging writing style, would be so affirming for non-binary readers who didn’t start making those connections until they were adults.