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 baby Sasha’s gender in the hope it would let its ‘real’ personality shine through.
They referred to it as 'the infant' and only allowed their child to play 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
During the first five years of his life, Sasha has alternated between girls’ and boys’ outfits, leaving friends, playmates and relatives guessing.
But Beck and Kieran have finally revealed his masculinity to the world after it became harder to conceal when Sasha 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 king of person they become.
Beck, pictured, was resolute and encouraged Sasha to play with dolls to hide his masculinity
'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, from Sawston, Cambs., 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.
'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 last five years the couple have become skilled at evading the gender question at the school gates and walking down the street.
They have simply referred to her little boy as 'the infant'.
Sasha 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 sex when he started school.
Sasha's parents have finally revealed his masculinity to the world after it became harder to conceal when he started primary school
Sasha wears a ruched-sleeved and scalloped-collared shirt to school from the girl’s uniform list, and has been banned from sporting combat trousers.
The youngster 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 about their decision to reject tradition.
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 world-wide 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 y 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.'