News & Politics

It's a Boy! Wait, Wasn't Meghan Markle's Royal Baby Supposed to Be Gender Neutral?

(Gareth Fuller/pool photo via AP)

On Monday morning, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the duke and duchess of Sussex, welcomed a baby boy into the world. The boy is the first interracial British royal, and he will be seventh in line for the throne. He has yet to have a name, but he will be raised gender neutral.

A Twitter account announced the birth of the royal baby, and Prince Harry spoke to many media outlets about the happy occasion.

“I’m very excited to announce that Meghan and myself had a baby boy, this morning, a very healthy boy,” Harry told the BBC. “Mother and baby are doing incredibly well, it’s been the most amazing experience I can ever have possibly imagined.” He added that how any woman goes through labor is “beyond comprehension.”

The Church of England tweeted a prayer for their newborn son.

Yet the happy news might be confusing to some. Didn’t Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they would be raising their child gender neutral? In the age of transgender identity, where some parents decide not to “give” their child a gender that corresponds with his or her biological sex in order to allow him or her (or zim?) to decide a gender later on, it may seem remarkable that the British royals were willing to acknowledge that their male son is indeed a boy.

According to transgender activists, gender identity is more important than biological sex and therefore telling biological males that they are boys and telling biological females that they are girls is a kind of oppression — foisting a “gender identity” on an unwilling child. This is nonsense, but it is not exactly what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle promised.

Instead, they promised to raise their son without too many gender stereotypes. The baby’s room will not be painted all in blue because he is a boy, for instance. They will not force him to play with trucks and toy weapons if he does not want to. Yet it seems they will still acknowledge his biological sex.

This may strike conservatives as odd, but it is far better than the transgender craze. Biological sex is real, while gender stereotypes are manmade. So long as people acknowledge the key differences between males and females and rightly consider men and women to have different biological traits that are not interchangeable, they can discard or alter some of the traditional gender roles without denying plain biological truths.

Naturally, some of the stereotypes are grounded in reality. Statistically, men are more likely to enjoy blunt-force physical sports and to turn a stick into a make-believe toy sword. Women are more likely to have high emotional intelligence and to turn a stick into a make-believe baby. But these stereotypes should not be foisted upon children, and trying to force kids to fit gender stereotypes can do psychological harm.

Many boys and girls do not fit traditional gender stereotypes, and that is perfectly fine. The key is how parents and society react to such a truth. Transgender activists insist that if a boy acts in ways stereotypically associated with girls, he is in fact a girl and needs hormones and surgery to make him female. This is misguided and can result in longtime physical and psychological harm. The better approach is to accept that he does not fit traditional stereotypes, but he is still a boy with male biology. This seems to be the kind of “gender-neutral” approach the duke and duchess of Sussex are taking.

The as-yet-unnamed royal baby will not be raised with a direct eye to traditional gender stereotypes, but he will be raised as a boy and recognized as male. The more radical transgender identity does not seem to have taken Buckingham Palace — at least not yet.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.