Demi Lovato Speaks Out Against 'Transphobic' Gender Reveal Parties
By Paige Gawley
Demi Lovato is speaking out against gender reveal parties. On Thursday, the 28-year-old singer took to Instagram to repost a message from transgender rights activist Alok Vaid-Menon, who called the pregnancy trend "transphobic."
"Thank you for sharing your knowledge and educating us always," Lovato wrote alongside her post, before sharing the caption Vaid-Menon had written.
"This is not about being politically correct, it’s about being correct," the original post read. "The refusal to acknowledge this stems from a misunderstanding of what transphobia is."
"Transphobia is not just prejudice or violence against an individual trans person, it is a belief system that presumes non-trans people to be more 'natural' than trans people," the post continued. "Only individual people can self determine their gender."
In the slides that accompanied the message, Vaid-Menon wrote that it's "both insincere and incorrect to pretend that gender reveal parties are not transphobic."
"You can't have your proverbial pink-blue binary cake and eat it too," the post read. "This in not about political correctness, it's just... correct. We condemn gender reveals not because of our identity, but because of reality."
"Transphobia is not just about prejudice against individual trans people, it's also a way of thinking that understands non-trans people as more natural/organic and erases everyone else," the post continued. "These ideas, like the gender binary, fuel mistreatment of all people, but especially trans and gender non-conforming people."
Per the post, "gender reveals are based on the illusion that genitals = gender and that there are only two options 'boy or girl.'"
That way of thinking, the post read, "erases the fact that there are boys with vaginas and girls with penises and that there are people who are neither boys nor girls."
"The idea that sex is based on genitalia is inconsistent with science," the post added, noting that gender reveals "require not just the invalidation of transness, but the impossibility of transness."
"The assumption is that the baby is cis. Cisness is positioned as the default and everyone else is understood as derivative of it," the post continued. "The idea goes: while we might 'identify' as trans now, we were 'originally' 'born' cis and we later 'became trans. When in truth, everyone is just born. And we all become after the fact."
Despite becoming "accustomed" to gendering, the post explained "that doesn't make it right" because "only individuals can determine their own gender."
"Gender reveals uphold the gender binary and the binary prevents people from observing reality. Instead, it offers culturally and historically determined norms (for example: pink used to be considered a masculine color) as personhood," the post read. "People are taught to experience themselves and one another as ideas of how they should be, not the reality of what they are and what is."
Additionally, the post stated that "the gender binary requires that we adopt prescriptive ideas of gender (what men and women should be) as descriptive ideas of gender (what men and women fundamentally are)," and thus "naturalizes cultural myths as 'biological facts.'"
Trans and gender non-conforming people aren't trying to "advance a 'gender ideology,'" but rather "trying to escape it," the post read.
"The real ideology at play here is a system which romanticizes the denial of individuality in the service of maintaining category," the post concluded.