Swedish Nonbinary ‘MaPa’ Raises Children Without Gender

VICE host Amelia Abraham visited Sweden to discover what life is like growing up outside the gender binary. While in Sweden, Amelia visits Del LaGrace Volcano (also known as ‘MaPa’), who was born intersex, and the children, Mika (5) and Nico (3). According to VICE, Sweden is “the most forward thinking country when it comes to questioning gender.” As evidence of this “progressiveness,” VICE reveals that Sweden now has a commonly used gender-neutral pronoun, hen, and offers gender-neutral kindergarten. However, many people would argue that Sweden is among the most regressive developed countries regarding gender.

In the beginning of the video, Mika states that many children come up to her and ask whether she is a boy or girl, explaining that she initially believed she was neither a girl nor boy but now believes she is both. According to MaPa, both he and his partner believe that “gendering is harmful.” To avoid gendering, MaPa and his partner selected gender-neutral names for their children, avoided knowing the biological sex of their children until they were born, refused to answer the question “Is it a boy or girl?”, and often changed pronouns in books they read to their children.

However, not everyone in Sweden agrees with abolishing the concept of gender. David Eberhard, a Swedish psychiatrist and author, disagrees with the Swedish government’s efforts to eliminate gender from the classroom. Eberhard believes this mindset is damaging because it infers that traditional gender roles are problematic. He continues by stating that unlike girls, boys are academically struggling in school and committing suicide at an alarming rate.

Towards the end of the video, MaPa claims that his children are very privileged based on their skin color, ability status, and socioeconomic status, asserting that “gender confusion is a small price to pay for social progress.” VICE host Amelia Abraham concludes by saying that she hopes to live in a world where a more “fluid gender identity” is more accepted by society.

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