A couple who raised their child as "gender neutral" for five years so the infant's "real personality" could shine through have finally revealed he is a boy. Beck Laxton, 46, and partner Kieran Cooper, 44, decided not to reveal baby Sasha's gender to the world so he would not be influenced by society's prejudices and preconceptions. They referred to their child as "The Infant" and only allowed him to play with "gender-neutral toys" in their television-free home. For the first five years of his life Sasha alternated between girls' and boys' outfits, leaving friends, playmates and relatives guessing.
But the couple have finally revealed his sex after it became harder to conceal when Sasha started primary school. Miss Laxton, a web editor, said that she thought gender stereotyping was "fundamentally stupid". "I wanted to avoid all that stereotyping," she said. 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."
Photo from SWNS.
She admitted that their stance had led them to suffering some ostracisation and she had been branded a "loony" by other parents. But she felt it was worth it. "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', she said. "And I could never persuade anyone in the group to come around for coffee. They just thought I was mental. I 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."
The family, from in 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. Only a handful of immediate family members were told of the baby's gender. Finally the secret got too hard to keep and Beck and Kieran were forced to reveal Sasha's sex when he started school. Sasha wears a "ruched-sleeved" girl's shirt as part of his school uniform, and has been banned from sporting combat trousers. The youngster is also encouraged to wear flowery tops at weekends.