A COUPLE have vowed not to reveal their baby’s gender to “leave everything on the table” for the child to decide later.
Chanti Annette Humphrey and Jake England-Johns even kept the sex of 14-month-old Anoush from their parents for almost a year.
The couple call Anoush “they” instead of “he” or “she”, dress the tot in both male and female clothing and let them play with any toys they choose.
The pair say their methods avoid “unconscious bias” on gender and will allow the child to pick their sex when they are older.
Chanti, 38, known as Hobbit, said: “When I got pregnant, we had a discussion about how we were going to mitigate the unconscious bias.
“We figured the only way we could do that was just not to tell people . . . 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 Anoush from that.”
‘WE JUST WANT THEM TO BE THEMSELVES’
The couple, who are circus performers and live on a houseboat in Keynsham, near Bath, spoke about raising Anoush on the BBC’s Inside Out programme last night.
Hobbit said her mum Camille found their way of doing things difficult at first and only discovered her grandchild’s biological gender after 11 months by changing nappies.
Camille told the programme: “It’s a learning curve. I grappled with what to call them, and hated when I slipped into ‘it’ and then sometimes calling them ‘he’ and sometimes ‘she’.
“But, over time, it became embedded and they became ‘they’.”
Jake, 35, said he is regularly asked if Anoush is a boy or girl. But he added: “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 Anoush be a baby.
“Anoush is the most lovely little human. They’re into everything, they’re really active — just a delight.
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“The ‘neutral’ in ‘gender neutral’ refers to us trying to behave neutrally to our child, rather than trying to make them neutral.
“We’re not trying to make them be anything. We just want them to be themselves.”
The show, on BBC One in the West tomorrow and available on iPlayer, follows the news that people will be able to choose their gender on the next official census in 2021.
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