Couple Not Revealing Baby's Sex To Prevent 'Unconscious Gender Bias'
A couple are keeping the sex of their baby secret to prevent 'unconscious gender bias'.
Hobbit Humphrey and Jake England-Johns - who live on a houseboat near Bath, UK - haven't revealed the 17-month-old's sex to their friends and family and ask them to refer to the baby by the pronoun 'they'. The husband and wife also dress their baby in both boys' and girls' clothing.
Indeed, one of the baby's grandparents said they only found out the baby's sex when changing a nappy six months ago.
Explaining the decision on BBC Inside Out, Mr England-Johns said they just want the baby - whose name was changed to Charlie in the programme - to be who they are.
The 35-year-old said: "Gender neutral refers to us trying to behave neutrally towards the child, rather than trying to make them neutral.
"We're not trying to make them be anything. We just want them to be themselves.
"We are quite good now at holding space for people's discomfort in us saying, 'Actually, we don't tell anyone, we're not telling anyone for now'. We're just letting Charlie be a baby.
"Charlie is the most lovely little human. They're into everything, they're really active - just a delight."
Ms Humphrey added that the decision was intended to help protect Charlie.
She said: "So much of gender bias is unconscious. When I got pregnant we then were having a discussion about how we were going to mitigate the unconscious bias and we figured that the only way we could do that was just not to tell people.
"To use the they/them pronoun for as long as we can, and create this little bubble for our baby to be who they are.
"Eventually they will get told by somebody that pink is only for girls and blue is only for boys, and you can't play with that because you are a particular sex.
"That's still a thing that happens these days. We're just trying to protect Charlie from that."
While the couple admit the decision has caused a lot of confusion, Ms Humphrey said it has had the desired effect.
She said: "It has had the effect we wanted, of letting our baby develop its own interests regardless of gender. So, for example, while they love having a doll's tea party every morning, they also are really fascinated by motorbikes and machinery.
"Eventually once our baby is old enough, they can obviously decide for themselves what gender they want to be, but for now we just want them to be able to grow up in their own little bubble."
Featured Image Credit: BBC