Munroe Bergdorf warns of the ‘serious damage’ caused by gender reveal parties

Transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf is warning of the harm that gender reveal parties can cause for trans or gender non-conforming children.

Gender reveal parties in which expectant parents reveal the genitals of a foetus to their friends and family – have been widely ridiculed as examples of ‘straight culture’.

Thought to have originated in 2008, the idea is now widespread and parents often celebrate the occasion with gender reveal cakessmoke bombs, balloons, and even special tyres for cars.
The parties ignore the fact that gender exists on a spectrum, as Bergdorf pointed out on The Independent’s dating and relationships podcast, Millennial Love.

Tweets from people making fun of Dennis Dickey's gender reveal wildfire in Arizona

A gender reveal party in which parents fired a shotgun at blue explosives led to a week-long 47,000-acre wildfire (Arizona Daily Star/YouTube)

The creator of the gender reveal party tweeted that she thinks that it’s extremely dangerous for gender non-conforming or trans children,” she noted.

“And ultimately, all it is, is revealing your child’s genitals. You have no idea how that child is going to identify and it really is just placing all of your hopes and dreams on this child based on their gender.”

The parties often celebrate outdated heteronormative tropes of masculinity and femininity, which can be restrictive to children as they grow up. Examples include cakes with the phrases ‘Ruffles or rifles’, ‘Touchdowns or tutus’ and ‘Tractors or tiaras’.

Bergdorf explained that this can foster a culture in which parents place more value on one particular gender than another.

Gender reveal

A gender reveal cake apparently suggesting boys do not have eyelashes (Photo: @carolyn_hiatt / Twitter)

“You see like videos of dads getting upset when they find out they’ve got a girl or mums getting upset because they’ve got a boy,” she said.

“This is not good guys. Fair enough if you want to celebrate that you’re having a child but that should be the priority, you know?”

In the episode Munroe Bergdorf also touched on her own gender identity, and why she feels the concept of ‘coming out’ is problematic.

“If I had it my way then no one would have to come out,” she said. “But we do live in a society where cisgendered people are seen as the default. Really what we need to do is start breaking that down and then people won’t need to come out because we’ll all be seen as equal.”