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A grandmother died during a gender reveal party. It’s time to end these rituals permanently.

Gender reveal cake. File photo.

A grandmother died at a gender reveal party in Iowa this month when a piece of debris struck her in the head.
Even before the tragedy, Haig Chahinian, a career counselor and gay dad to a teenage girl, always felt troubled by the popular pre-birth ritual.
Chahinian said he doesn’t know any LGBTQ people who have hosted gender reveal parties because they reinforce labels that stifle individuals like him.
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I was rattled by the news that an Iowa grandmother died at a gender reveal party this month when a piece of debris struck the 56-year-old woman in the head. The family had likely hoped to spray festive bright blue or pink powder to announce the sex of the newborn-to-be. In the process, the inadvertently created a pipe bomb.

Even before this tragedy, gender reveal gatherings — like a pre-baby shower designed to bring together loved ones — have always made me uncomfortable. These events enforce “either-or” thinking, branding everyone “him” or “her” forever, even before having a chance to enter the world. The unsuspecting individual is then expected to follow a strict code based solely on their genitals. As a gay dad with a 14 year-old daughter, I’ve constantly battled these norms.

Even before a woman died at a gender reveal party, I thought the popular ritual was troubling

At school in navy pants and white short sleeves, I preferred playing hopscotch, jumping rope, throwing jacks instead of strikes. I was popular with female classmates, but was taunted by the boys. Part of me wanted to worship sports like they did. But hanging upside down on the monkey bars, I didn’t want to fit into a category. I wanted acceptance.

At the University of Southern California it seemed wrong for me to kiss a guy. Back then, gay marriage was perfectly illegal.

My destiny was to marry a wife, earn money, and provide for our children while passing down our ancient culture. At night I lay shaking in my dorm bed, considering my limited options. Ending my life seemed like the logical solution.

Then a feminist theory professor I adored helped me realize gender wasn’t fixed. “It’s made-up,” she said. “You can reject social constructs. Your genitalia should not dictate how you express yourself in the world.” I realized if I cast aside the toxic idea of gender, I could choose to be with someone who just happened to have a penis as well. I slowly discarded every notion I held about what it meant to be a man. Her words were like a get out of jail card for my heart.

While I was lucky to come out alive, not everyone is.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely as their hetero-identified peers to have attempted suicide. More than half of trans male teens surveyed reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, as did about 30% of trans female teens, according to the American Academy …read more

Source:: Insider – Lifestyle

      

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