Swedish Parents Won’t Tell if Child is Boy or Girl as Gender Experiment

Mon Jun 29, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Hilary White

June 29, 2009 ( - In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, a Swedish couple said they are refusing to disclose whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child, called "Pop" in the media, is a boy or a girl. They said that their decision, made at the time of the child's birth, was based on the feminist theory that "gender" is a "cruel" "social construct" that forces children into artificial roles.

"We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset," Pop's mother said. "It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead." The parents say they never use personal pronouns, referring to him or her only as Pop.

"I believe that the self-confidence and personality that Pop has shaped will remain for a lifetime," said the mother.

Swedish English-language paper The Local, quoted"gender equality consultant" Kristina Henkel who justified the parents' action, saying if they are doing this "because they want to create a discussion with other adults about why gender is important, then I think they can make a point of it."

But critics say that similar experiments with children have had tragic consequences. In 2004, David Reimer, a man who had been raised as a girl in childhood, committed suicide at the age of 38. Reimer's parents had been convinced by Dr. John Money, a gender studies specialist at Johns Hopkins University, to impose "gender reassignment therapy" on their son after a botched circumcision. 

Reimer became widely known after the publication of a book about his life titled, "As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl." He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in order to prevent other such experiments.

Starting in the 1960s, the topic of "gender roles" and "sex stereotyping" became one of great interest to radical feminist theorists. At that time, the concept of a "psychological" gender was popularized, leading to the concept in "queer theory" and "gender theory," of the "transsexual" - a person who believes he is born in the "wrong body" and whose "congenital defect" can be corrected with surgery and hormone treatments. Gender theorists have posited as many as eleven "psychological genders."

Christian family advocates have identified these developments as among the most serious threats to the continuation of the natural family and its legal protections in the west, particularly in Europe where these theories are more widely accepted in government than in the Americas. 

Critics of "gender theory" have included Pope Benedict XVI who has called for the development of an "ecology of man" "based on respecting the nature of the person, and the two genders of masculine and feminine." In December 2008, the pope warned that radical feminist gender theory is a form of "contempt" for God that "will lead to the self destruction of humanity."

"It is not outmoded metaphysics," Benedict XVI said, "when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected."

Read related coverage:

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