An influencer and model said she isn't doing a gender reveal because 'that may not be who my child decides to be'

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iskra lawrence

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  • Model Iskra Lawrence wrote to her Instagram followers that she will not be having a gender reveal party for her child. 
  • "Though right now I know what gender the professionals have announced, that may not be who my child decides to be and it doesn't feel right to make a big deal about something so personal to them," Lawrence wrote. 
  • Lawrence is a part of the new wave of social media influencers who are using their pregnancies to turn a profit by documenting them publicly. 
  • As transgender and non-binary people become more visible, more people and parents are questioning whether gender-reveal parties have a place.
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Iskra Lawrence, an Instagram influencer and model, posted a picture on Instagram with a caption explaining why she will not be having a gender reveal party for her child.

Lawrence said she took issue with the idea of a gender reveal party because knowing what gender a child is assigned at birth does not necessarily accurately reflect what gender that child will identify as later in life. 

"Though right now I know what gender the professionals have announced, that may not be who my child decides to be and it doesn't feel right to make a big deal about something so personal to them," Lawrence wrote. 

 

While her close family and friends know what gender doctors have assigned the child, she does not plan on disclosing that to her 4.5 million Instagram followers.

Lawrence has been publicly documenting her pregnancy since announcing she and husband Philip Payne were expecting their first child. She is part of a new group of social media influencers who are using their pregnancies to make money through brand deals and company sponsorships. 

But unlike many other expecting influencers who opt for elaborate ways of revealing their baby's assigned gender, Lawrence has opted out of the traditional gender reveal party entirely — and she isn't alone, at least among non-fluencers.

More new parents are questioning the need for gender reveal parties as transgender and non-binary people are reaching new levels of visibility in the mainstream, and the idea of assigning gender at birth is being challenged.  

Gender reveal cake. File photo.

Getty/Jeneil S

More parents are challenging the idea of gender reveal parties 

Gender reveal parties have been a popular tradition for expecting parents for over a decade, after being coined in 2008 by blogger Jenna Karvunidis, according to The New Yorker. 

From cakes that ooze with pink or blue filling once expecting parents cut into them to white balloons filled with colored confetti, gender reveals have developed into a culture of their own — with entire listicals in parenting publications dedicated to creative ideas for them.

But the popular understanding of gender has rapidly evolved over the last decade and the idea that parents can tell what gender their baby is based on their genitalia doesn't hold up. 

More children are identifying as genders other than the one they were assigned at birth. A recent Pew Research survey found that one-third of teens and people in their early 20s know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, and this number is likely to grow. Merriam Webster even made "they" the word of 2019 since its use as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun has grown so rapidly. 

And, the largest study of transgender children ever conducted found that transgender children firmly identity with their gender identity in the same way cisgender children do, regardless of the age they came out as transgender. 

The growing number of people identifying with genders they weren't assigned at birth by a doctor calls into question if there is even a place for gender reveal parties in modern parenting. Karvunidis herself said that she regretted creating the concept after reflecting on its possible negative impact. 

"I started to realize that nonbinary people and trans people were feeling affected by this, and I started to feel bad that I had released something bad into the world," Karvunidis told the New Yorker.

But as Lawrence and celebrities like actress Gabrielle Union continue to advocate for parenting practices that give their children the space to understand their own gender identity rather than imposing what was assigned at birth, that "something bad" may dissipate. 

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