A British couple have told how they're raising their baby as gender-neutral because they want to protect the child from "unconscious bias.”
Hobbit Humphrey, 38, and Jake England-Johns, 35, appeared on BBC One's Inside Out program in the U.K. this week to share their decision not to reveal the gender of their baby.
The couple, who are both circus performers and live on a houseboat near Bath, England, have decided to dress their child in both boy’s and girl’s clothing and use the gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them.”
Speaking on the program, the couple said they want their child — whose name was changed to Charlie during the show — to decide their own gender and preferred pronoun when they're older.
"Gender-neutral refers to us trying to behave neutrally towards the child, rather than trying to make them neutral,” England-Johns explained.
"So much of gender bias is unconscious,” added Humphrey. “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.”
The couple are so protective that the baby was 11 months old before their grandparents found out their sex while changing the baby’s diaper.
Speaking on the program, the baby’s grandmother, Camille said though it was a struggle at first not knowing how to refer to the baby, over time it became embedded and her grandchild became “they.”
Discussing the reaction the parents often receive when telling people about their decision to raise their child gender-neutral, England-Johns said, "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.’”
The couple said their child can choose the gender they want to be when they are old enough to understand.
“We’re not trying to make them be anything,” he added. “We just want them to be themselves.”
They aren’t the only parents to open up about their decision not to reveal the sex of their child.
Last April, parents Kyl and Brent Courtney-Myers revealed that they have also chosen not to reveal the gender of their two-year-old, Zoomer.
Proud advocates of the Gender Creative Parenting movement, the Utah-based family is dedicated to raising a “they-by” and using gender-neutral terms for their toddler.
And earlier this year a parent defended their decision to raise their children as gender-neutral.
Ari Dennis, 30, from Florida, who personally identifies as non-gender-binary, is mother to Hazel, 8, and Sparrow, 1.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Dennis spoke of their decision to raise Sparrow as a gender-neutral “they-by,” using the pronouns of “they/them” rather than “she” or “he.”
“We do not know what Sparrow’s gender is yet and, as regards to their anatomy, we choose to keep that secret except for a small list of caregivers,” Dennis said.
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