Before 2008, the thought of throwing a party just to reveal the gender of your soon-to-be-born baby would have seemed like a novel concept. Ten years later, it has become an integral part of the pregnancy experience for some women, with elaborate parties and stunts ending in an indication of blue or pink. Now, Jenna Karvunidis, who is credited with inventing the gender reveal party, is questioning the rite of passage entirely.
“A weird thing came up on Twitter, so I figured I’d share here,” said Karvunidis in a Facebook post. “Someone remembered it was me who ‘invented’ the gender reveal party.” Karvunidis originally wrote about her party on her blog before was picked up with a larger story in the popular pregnancy publication The Bump.
For Karvunidis and her husband, the party was a way to mark a milestone after experiencing multiple miscarriages. For them, it was about a healthy pregnancy more than it was about whether a cake was blue or pink. She was proud of her story and that her idea created a way for people to celebrate, but in the process, she realised that not everyone identifies as one gender or the other. “Who cares what gender the baby is?” Karvunidis wrote. “I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now — that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs.”
Part of what helped Karvunidis come to this realisation was that her own daughter, the original gender reveal baby, started to identify as non-binary. Now, what Karvunidis doesn’t want is for her idea to be at the expense of non-binary and trans people. “Even if you say a problem doesn’t affect ‘me’ personally, we should all have enough humanity to realize we don’t have to cause pain for marginalised people to have joy for ourselves,” she continued.
“There are plenty of reasons to eat cake,” Karvunidis told The Guardian. “You can pick one that doesn’t reinforce an attitude of harm toward members of the LGBTQ community.”