On Saturday afternoon, MSNBC Live helped hype the "new trend" of parents who decide to disguise the gender of their children until they are old enough to decide which gender they prefer to be identified as. At 5:21 p.m. Eastern, substitute host Aaron Gilchrist set up a piece on the subject that was put together by NBC Digital about children who are referred to as "theybies" because their parents are careful to only identify them with gender neutral pronouns.
AARON GILCHRIST: Is it a boy or a girl? For some parents, it doesn't matter. Many are doing away with gender stereotypes by keeping the sex of their children a secret. They're raising 'theybies,' a new trend where you let your child decide their sex. NBC's digital team explains.
An unidentified father was shown explaining that, although his family is in some ways normal, they are also concealing the concept of gender from their two small children: "We're raising them using 'they,' 'them,' 'their' -- gender neutral pronouns -- so that they can decide for themselves when, if, and how they want to identify as a gender."
After a clip of an unidentified woman complaining that it "increases gender stereotypes" when children are taught about gender, a second unidentified woman who was the mother of the family was seen informing viewers of her rationale: "Gender is not something that we have discussed with either of them at all really. I'm hoping that they'll grow up and be supportive of other people and who they are and how they feel, and really confident and happy with who they are themselves."
Host Gilchrist then plugged a longer report online as he concluded: "To see more of the NBC Digital story, 'Raising Theybies: Kids Who Decide Their Gender,' head to nbcnews.com/theybies."
By contrast, on Friday's Fox and Friends, news reader Jillian Mele noted that such social experiments have been blamed for leading to an increase in bullying of the children involved as she informed viewers of the NBC story.