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Gender reveal parties gone wrong — and why the woman who started the trend wants it to stop

By Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News on

Published in Parenting News

This idea really exploded.

A gender reveal party started a massive Southern California wildfire, and now Jenna Karvunidis, the woman who began the trend, is once again asking people to stop throwing these destructive parties.

"The parties, they're ridiculous," Karvunidis told the Daily News. "And they're harmful to transgender and nonbinary people and anybody on the gender spectrum. It's a harmful dichotomy."

The damaging effects of gender reveals extend beyond the children, sometimes to thousands of acres of forests.

In 2017, off-duty Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey started a wildfire when he shot a decorative target with an explosive to announce that he was having a son.

The fire burned $8.2 million in property, though Dickey only had to pay $220,000 in fines after pleading guilty. Still, for a Border Patrol agent making somewhere between $55,000 and $100,000 a year (according to the agency's website), that's a lot of cash that Dickey's son will never see.


As for this year's Southern California gender reveal fire, officially named the El Dorado Fire, the occupation of the couple has not yet been released, nor has the sex of the child. It's safe to say the family will also be looking at a hefty fine, because the El Dorado Fire has torched 12,000 acres in San Bernardino County and is only 18% contained as of Thursday afternoon, according to Cal Fire.

Karvunidis noted that she was once again back in the news after someone started a fire to reveal their baby's sex.

"Proverb: When idiots burn down forests with pink or blue bombs, I will wind up on CNN," she wrote in a tweet. But not every fire is big enough for Karvunidis to make it onto national TV. A 10-acre bushfire in Florida back in March was also started by a gender reveal party.

So far, no one has died in a gender reveal fire, but the parties can be deadly. An Iowa woman (and soon-to-be grandmother) was killed at an October 2019 event after her family "inadvertently" built a pipe bomb to announce the sex of a child.


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