Following a birth, most parents immediately share the news of the baby’s sex, if they hadn’t already learned it during an ultrasound. Not so for Beck Laxton, 46, and her partner Kieran Cooper, 44, who chose to keep their youngest child’s sex a secret for a whopping five years, reports Yahoo! Shine. The couple reportedly hoped to raise their child, Sasha, in a gender-neutral way and avoid society's stereotypes and preconceptions of gender.
"I wanted to avoid all that stereotyping," Laxton stated in an interview with the Cambridge News. "Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?"
Plus: Why Other Parents Are Keeping Their Baby’s Sex a Secret
Before revealing Sasha’s gender, the couple referred to him as “the infant” instead of as their son. When it comes to playtime he is only allowed to play with gender-neutral toys—fire trucks and Barbies are strictly off limits. "She's [Barbie] banned because she's horrible," Laxton says in the Cambridge interview. Television is also not available in their household.
Despite all the rules, Sasha is given the freedom to alternate between boy and girl outfits. He dresses in clothes that he likes, instead of being trapped into hyper-masculine clothing such as cargo pants and skull shirts.
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"Gender affects what children wear and what they can play with, and that shapes the kind of person they become." Laxton argues. The couple believes that by doing this they have expanded their child’s options. By being gender neutral he is not confined to the expectations of a specific sex—he can be both, one, or neither.
When Sasha turned five and began attending school, Laxton and Cooper had to reveal their son’s gender. And while the school requires students to dress in different uniforms for girls and boys, Sasha heads to class in half of each: a girl’s blouse and boy’s pants.
Laxton hopes to inspire the parents of the future toward a gender-neutral path instead of forcing their children into stereotypes and preconceptions of gender, but is open to whatever her son decides to be as he matures. "As long as he has good relationships and good friends," she says, "then nothing else matters, does it?"
Do you think it is possible to raise children gender neutral in today’s world?