This couple's gender reveal stunt started a deadly wildfire. They're now facing 20 years in jail

A firefighter works the line as flames push towards homes during the Creek fire in the Cascadel Wood...
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Gender reveal parties are a controversial enough practice without getting pyrotechnics involved. Yet, dangerous gender reveals — especially ones that cause enormous fires — have been weirdly popular for the past few years. As it turns out, the desire to announce the genitalia of your baby through smoke bombs, fireworks, and other clearly phallic projectiles could now lead to jail time.

On Tuesday, a Southern California couple were charged with involuntary manslaughter for their alleged part in setting off a smoke bomb to reveal the sex of their unborn baby at a gender reveal celebration on September 5, 2020. Upon ignition, this single firework event then caused the El Dorado fire, which lasted the better part of a month, burned more than 22,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest area, injured two firefighters and killed a third working to contain the blaze.

The next time you’re invited to a gender reveal party that you suspect may involve a stunt, perhaps RSVP with a link the obituary of the noble, beloved firefighter Charlie Morton. And tell your friend to wait for their baby to inform them of their sex instead of doing something dangerous based on oppressive gender norms.

Because of all of this preventable tragedy, Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez are facing serious jail time: a full 20 years for each of them, if convicted. The complete list of charges that the Jimenez parents face is lengthy; they pled not guilty to one felony count of involuntary manslaughter, three felony counts of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury, four felony counts of recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures, and 22 misdemeanors of recklessly causing fire to property, according to ABC News.

While I’m not a fan of the prison industrial complex, destroying tens of thousands of acres of land, people’s homes, animals, and again, ending a human life because your celebration style is basic AF seems like it should indeed end in some serious repercussions

Although the manner in which they announced their baby's assigned gender before they were even born could lead the Jimenezes to the slammer, they’re not the first couple to face charges for a party like this, or even the first to cause a death. In 2019, a pipe bomb explosion at a gender reveal party in Knoxville, Iowa caused the instant, tragic death of one woman when a projectile hit her. In 2018, a Utah couple used Tannerite, a dangerous explosive, to announce their baby’s gender and the unintended blast ended up burning 45,000 acres of the Green Valley National Forest.

The proud father who built the bomb now has to pay over $8 million in damages that could’ve gone to the baby’s college fund, a house, a yacht, and a small island to park it at. Sadly, there are many more gender reveal disasters I could mention, but we’d be here all day. I simply urge you to text “gender is a construct” to someone who needs to hear it, right now. Seriously: Only you can prevent (idiotic, horrific) forest fires.

The moral of the story here: gender is not a toy to play demolition games with, and while you may disagree that gender is imagined, prison is a very real structure you may end up in if you’re not careful about how you celebrate.

For those of us living with an enlightened perspective of gender, it truly makes no sense to disrespect your embryo in this way, when you could just have your friends over to eat hors d’oeuvres and celebrate the fact that a baby is coming without discussing their lower region. And if you truly, absolutely, must have a gender reveal party, just get a cake. And please don’t light it on fire.