Nowadays, there many cases with children that don’t have an exact gender. But it doesn’t mean that they are differ from the rest children. We need just to love them as they are, especially parents. That’s why a film was created, to show people about their uneasy life. Mika and Niko, aged five and two, are cherubic blondes with long hair and cheeky grins. They play with their toys and dress up and stumble over, and throw tantrums like any children their ages. But their childhoods are very different from most, in one fundamental way.
They live in Örebro, Sweden, with their Mama Mathilda, their Grandma Margareta, and their Mapa Del. Del LaGrace Volcano is intersex, they were assigned female at birth and started showing male sex characteristics in their teenage years. Now they identify as non-binary, their children call them “Mapa” as a combination of Mama and Papa.
Vice’s newest documentary Raised Without Gender follows Del and their family and they navigate bringing their children up in a world obsessed with the boy/girl binary. It also visits Sweden’s gender-neutral kindergartens and meets subjects experts, including the founder of those kindergartens, Lotta Rajalin. Part of the documentary-makers’ goal was to counteract some of the criticism Sweden has received from across the world for their steps towards gender-neutrality.
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.” Mika and Niko were both assigned male at birth, but their parents have made every effort not to let this define them. The children can wear whatever clothes they choose, they play with dolls and trucks, their names are purposefully not gender-specific.