Father Jake England-Johns, 35, and mother Hobbit Humphrey, 38, from Keynsham, Bath, said that they are currently dressing their 17-month-old Anoush in both boys and girls clothes and they are refusing to reveal the gender of the kid to their close family because they want to protect them from the “unconscious gender bias”.
The couple are both members of the Extinction Rebellion climate action group, and they have also asked their family and friends to address the toddler using the gender-neutral pronouns “them” and “they”.
One of the child’s grandparents revealed that they only found out the baby’s birth gender 11 months after they were born, when changing a nappy.
The parents appeared on BBC One’s Inside Out to explain their decision, and they said that it was the only way to stop people from treating their child differently based on gender.
They said that the baby, whose name was changed to Charlie in the program, will be allowed to decide on its gender and preferred pronoun at a later age.
The father said that gender-neutral refers to them trying to behave neutrally towards the child, rather than trying to make them neutral.
He added that they’re not trying to make them be anything. They just want them to be themselves.
The mother added that so much of gender bias is unconscious, and she and her husband were having a discussion about how they were going to mitigate the unconscious bias. So, they figured that the only way they could do that was to create this little bubble for their baby to be who they are.
The parents believe that their kid will eventually be told by someone that “pink is only for girls” and “blue is only for boys”, and that they “can’t play with that because you’re a boy/a girl”.
The couple, who are both circus performers, say that they are just trying to protect Anoush from that.
However, their decisions have led to “some pretty confused looks from old ladies in the park”.
The parents, though, believe that in the end, their decision has proven to be a really beautiful thing and they’ve had a lot of important conversations from it.
They also believe that it has had the effect they wanted. For example, while their baby loves having a doll’s tea party every morning, they are also really fascinated by motorbikes and machinery.
Eventually, once their baby is old enough, the parents will let them decide for themselves what gender they want to be.