It's a boy! Couple who brought up their child 'gender neutral' reveal sex of 'The Infant'.. after keeping it a secret for FIVE YEARS
A couple who concealed the sex of their child and raised it as ‘gender neutral’ for five years have finally revealed – it’s a boy.
Beck Laxton, 46, and partner Kieran Cooper, 44, decided not to reveal Sasha’s gender in the hope it would let his ‘real’ personality shine through.
They referred to him as 'the infant' and allowed him to play only with ‘gender-neutral toys’ in their television-free home.
Gender neutral: Sasha dressed as a fairy on the picture that was used on the family Christmas card in 2010
For the past five years Sasha has alternated between girls’ and boys’ clothes, leaving friends, playmates and relatives guessing.
However Beck and Kieran, from Sawston, Cambridgeshire, decided to reveal Sasha's masculinity to the world after it became harder to conceal when he started primary school.
Yesterday Beck, a web editor, said: 'I wanted to avoid all that stereotyping.
'Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes
'It’s like horoscopes. What could be stupider than thinking there are 12 types of personality that depend on when you were born It’s so idiotic.
'Gender affects what children wear and what they can play with, and that shapes the kind of person they become.
Sasha, pictured with his mother Beck, was referred to as 'the infant' to conceal his gender. But the secret became too hard to keep when he started primary school
'I start to get cross with it if it skews their potential. It’s not just a harmless bit of silliness, like horoscopes, it’s actually harmful.
'My mother’s very sporty and my dad was very emotional. We’d watch The Wizard of Oz and always start crying, whereas my mum would think we were really soppy.
'So it’s always seemed obvious to me that stereotypes didn’t fit the people I knew.'
Beck and Kieran were so desperate not to prejudice Sasha’s life with gender issues that they didn’t ask midwives his sex until 30 minutes after he was born.
'Beck and Kieran were so desperate not to prejudice Sasha’s life with gender they
didn’t ask midwives his sex until 30 minutes after he was born. Only a handful of immediate family members were told of the baby’s gender'
Only a handful of immediate family members were told of the baby’s gender.
Over the past five years the couple have become skilled at evading the question and have simply referred to their son as 'the infant'.
Beck said: 'In the mother and baby group I was the last person to introduce myself and I said “I’m Beck, and this is Sasha”.
'And of course somebody said straight away: “So is it a boy or a girl” I said “I’m not going to tell you”.
'I discovered later that I’d been described as “that loony woman who doesn’t know whether her baby is a boy or a girl”.
'And I could never persuade anyone in the group to come round for coffee. They just thought I was mental.
don’t think I’d do it if I thought it was going to make him unhappy,
but at the moment he’s not really bothered either way. We haven’t had
any difficult scenarios yet.
'Nobody’s ever mentioned it and I would
hope that if they actually said something to Sasha, he’d be confident
enough to make a good response.'
Sasha’s gender was almost revealed when he took to running around their garden naked, but Beck was resolute and encouraged him to play with dolls to hide his masculinity.
Finally the secret got too hard to keep and Beck and Kieran were forced to reveal Sasha’s gender when he started school.
Sasha has worn both girls' and boys' clothes for the past five years. He has chosen to wear a blouse from the girls' uniform list to school
Sasha wears a blouse with ruched-sleeves and a scalloped collar to school from the girls' uniform list, and has been banned from sporting combat trousers.
He is also encouraged to wear flowery tops at weekends.
Beck said her son would think nothing of being given flowers – a gift which would embarrass many men.
She said: 'He wouldn’t say anything about flowers, because nobody has ever told him that flowers are for girls. And I don’t see why they should be.
'I’ve often bought flowers for blokes and they’ve never been anything other than thrilled. So he’s be very unlikely to say: “I won’t wear the pink flowery one because everyone will laugh at me”.
'I just want him to fulfil his potential, and I wouldn’t push him in any direction. As long as he has good relationships and good friends, then nothing else matters does it
'All I want to do is make people think a bit.'
Sasha’s happiness so far has made Beck and Kieran, a computer software designer, even more convinced that their decision to reject tradition was the right one.
Beck added: 'I think finding out the sex at the scan is awful. I’d ban it. It’s like opening your presents before Christmas, and I worry that people start making all these presumptions about what the child’s going to be like.
'I was a bit curious after the birth of Sasha, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t making any assumptions myself. So we just sat there, a bit zonked, just gazing at Sash, and at each other.
'When we didn’t reveal his sex to the family there were a couple of people who assumed it was a boy, because that’s the default: something’s male unless you say it isn’t.'
In May 2011, parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, from Canada, vowed to raise their baby Storm as a gender-neutral child, sparking worldwide discussion.
Dr Daragh Mc Dermott, a psychology lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, said the psychological effect of raising a gender neutral child is not yet known.
He said: 'It’s hard to say whether being raised gender-neutral will have any immediate or long-term psychological consequences for a child, purely because to date there is little empirical research examining this topic.
'That being said, the family setting is only one source of gender-specific information and as children grow, their self-identity as male, female or gender-neutral will be influenced by school, socialisation with other children and adults, as well as mass media.
'As a child grows they develop their own independent sense of self that will include their own individual gender identification.'