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The mother who started the gender-reveal party craze really wants you to stop throwing gender-reveal parties

Vic Parsons October 22, 2019
A screenshot from a video of the gender reveal party in Arizona which caused a huge wildfire

In 2018, a gender-reveal party led to a week-long 47,000-acre wildfire in Arizona. (Arizona Daily Star/YouTube)

The mother who, in 2008, held a gender-reveal party for her firstborn child – inadvertently starting a trend that has resulted in forest fires, explosions and broken bones – now regrets the idea.

Jenna Myers Karvunidis, who in July this year posted that she had “major mixed feelings” about her role in the gender-reveal party phenomenon, has spoken out about the harm they cause to the trans community in an interview with The Guardian.

“I feel like the guy who invented gunpowder,” Karvunidis said, half-joking. “I’m the one who put the form to it. I’m the one who said: ‘This is something we’re going to celebrate now, and this is how we’re going to do it’. I put it out there.”

Karvunidis spoke about how her eldest daughter, Bianca, now 10, had educated her on gender and sexuality.

“Bianca tells me there are more than two genders and many sexualities. I hadn’t considered all this before,” she said, adding that she’s concerned about the harm gender-reveal parties cause to the trans community.

“At least when the child is born you are getting all the information at once: the sex, the colour of their hair, who they look like, how long they are, what their heart rate is. With the gender-reveal you’ve isolated one aspect of this person. When it gets elevated as being central to your identity that’s problematic,” she asserts.

And, she says, as someone who has three daughters, she fears the increasing polarisation of “girlhood” and “boyhood” is dangerous, and that holding a gender-reveal party only makes it worse.

“I’m pro-choice,” Karvunidis said. “What else am I going to be? I have three daughters.”

“In the US, our reproductive rights are being eroded down to nothing. You’ll have a six-day-old ball of cells eclipsing an adult human woman’s medical decisions. It’s not a football player or a ballet dancer, it’s a foetus, but the gender-reveal helps people forget that.”

But she doesn’t want people to stop eating cake – she just wants that cake not to be coloured according to the genitals of a foetus.

“I don’t want to shame people for having a party. I hope everyone has cake when they want it,” she said, “but let’s just eat it in socially appropriate ways.”

More: gender reveal party, non-binary community

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