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Non-binary parents Sommer and Stephanie reveal they told doctor not to announce baby’s gender at birth

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A non-binary couple who reject “gender indoctrination” revealed that when their baby was born, they told the doctor to keep quiet about his gender.

Sommer, 37, and their wife Stephanie welcomed their child Juno, who was later assigned as a female at birth, seven months ago and are determined to raise the baby to be “sex-expanding.”

“We just want Juno to have the space to figure it out for ourselves,” Stephanie told SBS Insight on all aspects of non-binary parenting on Tuesday’s episode.

“We didn’t ask anyone in the birth room to announce (the gender) because I didn’t know and I didn’t want to know when I was pregnant because I didn’t want to impose social ideals on my baby.”

Sommer (above) started identifying as non-binary two years ago after feeling like they lived their entire lives in a “costume”

The baby was identified as female at birth, but the parents will raise them to be

The baby was identified as female at birth, but the parents will raise them to be “gender-wide.” Pictured is a stock photo of a baby

However, the couple in love admitted that not using more conventional pronouns has its challenges.

“When Juno was born, we thought, ‘We’re not going to tell anyone their gender unless they change their diapers,’ and then we probably found out how hard that was the first night,” Sommer revealed.

“It was impossible because if someone asks and you refuse to tell them, they feel like you’re attacking them or being rude.”

As part of their parenting style, their baby calls them “PomPom” instead of Mom or Dad because it’s a neutral term.

“We use the words gender-expansive more than gender neutrality because I feel like the word neutral makes it seem like she’s just wearing beige and has no color in her life,” Sommer said.

“So we say gender-expansive, that’s where there are no boundaries, and no restrictions on how our baby will be able to express himself, regardless of the gender assigned to him at birth.

Stephanie (pictured on SBS Insight) revealed that when her baby was born, she told the doctor to keep quiet about his sex

Stephanie (pictured on SBS Insight) revealed that when her baby was born, she told the doctor to keep quiet about his sex

Sommer (left) and their wife Stephanie (right) are now raising their daughter Juno to be 'gender-expansive'

Sommer (left) and their wife Stephanie (right) are now raising their daughter Juno to be ‘gender-expansive’

WHAT IS GENDER EXPANSION?

Gender expanding means that a person is not tied to traditional gender roles.

Instead, they live ‘out of the box’ and identify more as themselves than with a gender identity.

People who fall under this category may or may not identify as their gender born, but they do not adhere to the “gender rules” associated with that gender.

“I think people think that comes with a lot of pressure, but we don’t put any pressure on her and who she wants to be.”

The couple had initially talked about raising Juno to be gender neutral, but thought they would instead teach her that gender doesn’t define her until she’s old enough to decide who she wants to identify with.

Sommer and Stephanie’s version of gender-expanding parenting means Juno plays with female and male toys, dresses in clothes for each gender, and shows positive role models of both genders.

One hurdle the couple recently overcame was finding a childcare center that would accommodate their family.

Sommer said that despite the couple living in an “awake” neighborhood, the couple struggled to find a center that was truly inclusive and not a rainbow wash to get more customers.

‘We’ve been looking at childcare places lately and always ask ‘Are you inclusive? Do you have any books about gays?’ and all that sort of thing,’ said Sommer.

“Many will say they don’t, but we can take them and they include everyone.

But I just don’t think that’s a good enough answer. I want somewhere my baby goes, and they won’t feel left out.

“We found one that’s a rainbow playgroup. So they have a rainbow family gathering every month where all the parents come together.’

Sommer said they’ve also struggled to tell their families about their new gender identity and parenting technique.

“They buy Juno all those feminine clothes and call her beautiful,” Sommer said.

Thankfully, Sommer said the couple can offset the girl gifts with hand-me-downs from Stephanie’s cousin to ensure Juno still has a variety of clothes to choose from.

Sommer said they started identifying as non-binary two years ago after Stephanie started noticing that they suffered from “gender issues.”

Sommer had their breasts removed to help with dysphoria/dysmorphism, with Stephanie by their side to help them through the process.

She said their puberty was horrific because they were constantly uncomfortable in their bodies and “hate” how it was changing.

“I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I felt like I was just living my life, but all these female expectations were forced on me,” Sommer told the Daily Mail Australia.

Sommer (left) and Stephanie (right) want to raise their daughter to defy gender roles and live without restrictions

Sommer (left) and Stephanie (right) want to raise their daughter to defy gender roles and live without restrictions

‘It really made me depressed. I went to a girls’ school and had to wear a dress, and it felt like I was wearing a suit.

‘I wasn’t myself. I just felt like a weirdo in a dress. It was a costume I had to put on to go out into the world.’

Sommer, who works as a trader, says their workplace has gone to great lengths to accept their identities.

“They’ve been fantastic. They had a meeting about my pronouns before I started,” Sommer said.

“They updated my email so my pronouns are on it, even though it’s automated, they figured out how to do it.

“It was a priority, and it’s been really great.”

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