A theybie (plural theybies) or non-binary baby is a term for a baby or child raised in a way that is gender-neutral, allowing children to choose their own gender, and also referring to the accompanying parenting style. The term and movement was initially popularised in 2018, preceding several reports of babies in 2017 being born without being assigned a gender. The practice of raising babies as gender neutral has been reported as early as 2009 and 2011, continuing to receive news reports in 2021, however the term "theybie" was first used in 2017. The term is a portmanteau of the pronoun 'they' and 'baby'. Until children raised as theybies choose their gender and pronouns, they are referred to by the parents using they/them pronouns.
Parents of theybies describe motivations for doing so including supporting gender diversity, improving self-determination of gender, reducing sexism and reducing the developmental effects of gender stereotypes on children.
As of October 2017, in California it was made possible for residents to have a baby legally recognized as gender neutral with a "X" sex marker. It is also possible to receive a "U" gender marker for theybies in Canada.
There has been criticism towards the concept of theybies, including from Christian organizations and by political commentator Steven Crowder. Common criticisms include that it is a selfish choice on the part of the parent, equating a choice on gender to be a choice of anatomy, that it is harmful to keep the gender "secret" from other people, and the possibility of increased child bullying.
Parents of theybies have also expressed consideration at the possibility of increased bullying rates:
I’d rather have a kid that experiences adversity and deals with it and comes out stronger [...] than a kid who is a bully.
— Nate Sharpe, parent of a non-binary child
Although the principle and reports do not set an age limit before children can decide their gender, some critics consider an age limit before children can choose their gender a key component of theybies, and suggest that such an age limit is unethical.