Gender neutral until 5 years, how could it be?

In summary, the development of males and females in childhood can be determined externally by either genetic testing or an abdominal scan. For males, childhood testosterone production triggers the nub and the urethra to grow longer and the testes to descend. When adolescence nears, childhood testosterone production completely stops and adult testosterone is produced. For females, childhood estrogen and progesterone secretions trigger the skin and muscle over the vagina to die off, any bleeding stops, and the skin next to it forms 2 sets of folds, in other words 2 labia. When adulthood nears, adult estrogen and progesterone are produced and this triggers breast development and the menstrual cycle. It also makes it easier to gain fat and harder to gain muscle.
  • #1
caters
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My Kepler Bb humanoids are externally gender neutral until they are 5 years old. So you can only tell if they are male or female before then via genetic testing or an abdominal scan like an ultrasound, X ray, or CT.

Now here is my idea as to how males and females develop in childhood:

Male development:

At birth there is only a tiny nub. Females have this too so this isn't a sign. The testes haven't descended from the abdomen at this point. There is no need to since sperm production doesn't start until the male is around 15 years old. Because the nub is so tiny, there isn't the characteristic spray of urine. It just flows out like it does in females. At 5 years old a special hormone is secreted. It is the childhood version of testosterone. This triggers the nub and the urethra within it to grow longer but not wider(at least not wider than it would normally grow at this age). It also triggers the testes to descend and the skin in the groin to form a pouch. Once all that is done, childhood testosterone production plummets down close to 0. When adolescence nears, childhood testosterone production completely stops and then in adolescence, adult testosterone is produced and this triggers sperm production and erections and makes it easier to build muscle.

Female development:

Like males, females have a tiny nub. There is also skin and muscle over what would otherwise be the vaginal opening. At 5 years old childhood estrogen and progesterone is secreted and this triggers the skin and muscle over the vagina to die off. Any bleeding there stops and the skin right next to it forms 2 sets of folds, in other words 2 labia(minor and major respectively). Childhood estrogen and progesterone plummets until near adolescence it is at 0. In adolescence, adult estrogen and progesterone is produced and this triggers breast development and the menstrual cycle. It also makes it easier to gain fat and harder to gain muscle.

This production of special childhood versions of sex hormones that only triggers external genitalia formation, I think is the most plausible way for the child to go from externally gender neutral from conception to definitive male or female at 5 years.

But is this the most plausible way or if not, why not?
 
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  • #2
Why not go all the way and say that gender actually isn't determined until age 5? There are reptiles like this, I think.

You don't need special versions of testosterone and estrogen, those actual chemicals are involved in fetus development.

What is your objective for doing this? If these are aliens then you should probably change the names of everything. If they are some future modified humans then you'll need to decide why someone thought this was a good idea. Either way, you risk squicking your audience with too much of these kinds of details. Why exactly is your lead character paying attention to the sexual development of alien children?
 
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  • #3
I am not going to put all these details in my story and Robin, his grandparents, and Lisa are all paying attention to the development in their child to know whether or not it is male or female.

If I go all the way to gender only being genetically determined, that would mean that for 5 years after birth and throughout pregnancy their reproductive anatomy would be like this:

gonads-undifferentiated_cog01004.jpg


This, I wouldn't view as a good route which is why I only went to "possible to determine via abdominal scan but can't see the difference with just your eyes".

As for special childhood hormones, that helps protect against precocious puberty. Adolescence which starts with puberty is only supposed to start at 15 years old, no earlier, no later. If it starts earlier, then that means that there must be overproduction of childhood sex hormones, extreme overproduction. If it starts later, then that means that either there is a defect in the testes or ovaries or that there is still childhood sex hormones being produced. More likely, it is a defect in the gonads than hormones still being produced that shouldn't be.
 
  • #4
caters said:
But is this the most plausible way or if not, why not?

If you look around nature here on Earth, you'll find plenty of examples of things which don't seem like the "most plausible" way of doing things (the metamorphosis of many insects is the first one that pops to mind). Which is exactly what you'd expect from evolution since it can only work with traits generated by (usually) random mutations and because it makes adaptations "good enough", not "best". If, for some reason, this particular type of developmental process was favored in the past history of your alien's evolution, then that's "good enough" and is perfectly plausible.
 

Related to Gender neutral until 5 years, how could it be?

1. What does it mean to be "gender neutral" until age 5?

"Gender neutral" until age 5 refers to the practice of not assigning or enforcing traditional gender roles or expectations on a child until they reach the age of 5. This means not using gender-specific pronouns, clothing, toys, or activities, and instead allowing the child to explore and express themselves without societal pressure or influence based on their gender.

2. Why is it important to be gender neutral until age 5?

Research has shown that children are not born with a strong sense of gender identity and instead develop it over time. By being gender neutral until age 5, we allow children to develop their own sense of self without being limited by societal expectations or stereotypes. This can promote a more inclusive and diverse understanding of gender and can also help to prevent gender-based discrimination and bias in the future.

3. How can parents and caregivers implement a gender neutral approach until age 5?

Parents and caregivers can implement a gender neutral approach by avoiding using gender-specific language and stereotypes when interacting with the child. This can include using gender-neutral pronouns, allowing the child to choose their own clothing and toys, and providing a variety of activities and experiences that are not traditionally associated with a specific gender.

4. Is being gender neutral until age 5 the same as being non-binary or genderfluid?

No, being gender neutral until age 5 does not necessarily mean that the child will identify as non-binary or genderfluid in the future. It simply allows the child to explore and express their gender identity without societal pressure or expectations. It is important to respect and support a child's gender identity, whatever it may be, as they continue to develop and grow.

5. Are there any potential drawbacks to being gender neutral until age 5?

Some may argue that being gender neutral until age 5 could be confusing for the child or that they may miss out on important aspects of their gender identity. However, research has shown that children are resilient and can adapt to different environments and experiences. It is also important to remember that being gender neutral until age 5 does not mean denying or suppressing a child's gender identity, but rather allowing them the freedom to explore and express it in their own time.

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