In Vice’s newest documentary Raised Without Gender, host Amelia Abraham goes to Sweden – the world’s most forward thinking country when it comes to questioning gender – to find out what it’s like to grow up without the gender binary.
The documentary comes at a time when transgender issues are at the forefront of liberation debate across the world and more young people than ever before are defining as something other than simply “male” or “female.”
In Sweden, the gender neutral pronoun “hen” has been in the national dictionary since 2015 and is now commonly used by most Swedes, the Swedish government’s school plan has since 1998 forbidden enforcing gender stereotypes, and government funded gender neutral kindergartens with gender aware teachers has made it possible for families to raise their children without a set gender identity, something that often sparks controversy in the foreign press.
In the film, Abraham spends time with one of these gender non-conforming families, mapa (mom and dad) Del LaGrace Volcano who was born intersex (both male and female), the children Mika (5) and Nico (3) and their grandma Margareta.
She visits Mika and Nico’s gender aware kindergarten to find out what the teachers and the other kids make of Mika’s gender expression.
She also meets the founder of Sweden’s gender-neutral kindergartens, Lotta Rajalin, to learn how they go about deleting gender norms from education, as well as psychiatrist Dr Eberhard who is against Sweden’s attitude to gender in kindergartens.