Couple Finally Reveals Child's Gender, Five Years After Birth

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It's a boy! And he's five. Beck Laxton, 46, and partner Kieran Cooper, 44, have spent half the decade concealing the gender of their son, Sasha.

"I wanted to avoid all that stereotyping," Laxton said in an interview with the Cambridge News. "Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?"

Laxton, a UK-based web editor, and her partner, Cooper, decided to keep Sasha's sex a secret when he was still in the womb. The birth announcement stated the gender-neutral name of their child, but skipped the big reveal. Up until recently, the couple only told a few close friends and family members that Sasha was a boy and managed to keep the rest of the world in the dark. But now that he's starting school the secret's out.

For years, Becks has been referring to her child, the youngest of three, as "the infant" on her personal blog. But guarding the public from her son's gender was only part of her quest to let her kid just be a kid.

Sasha dresses in clothes he likes -- be it a hand-me-downs from his sister or his brother. The big no-no's are hyper-masculine outfits like skull-print shirts and cargo pants. In one photo, sent to friends and family, Sasha's dressed in a shiny pink girl's swimsuit. "Children like sparkly things," says Beck. "And if someone thought Sasha was a girl because he was wearing a pink swimming costume, then what effect would that have? "

Sasha's also not short on dolls, though Barbie is also off limits. "She's banned because she's horrible," Laxton says in the Cambridge interview.

On a macro level she hopes her son sets an example for other parents and makes them reconsider buying their own sons trucks or forcing their daughters into tights. She's seen how those consumer trappings affect how and who kids play with in the sandbox.

But the sandbox is just a precursor to the classroom. When Sasha turned five and headed to school, Laxton was forced to make her son's sex public. That meant Sasha would have to get used to being a boy in the eyes of his peers. Still, his mom is intervening. While the school requires different uniforms for boys and girls, Sasha wears a girl's blouse with his pants.

"I don't think I'd do it if I thought it was going to make him unhappy, but at the moment he's not really bothered either way. We haven't had any difficult scenarios yet."

Last year another couple, Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39, of Toronto made a similar decision when they had their baby, Storm. At the time, certain psychiatric experts voiced concern over their decision. "To have a sense of self and personal identity is a critical part of normal healthy development," Dr. Eugene Beresin, director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, told ABC News. "This blocks that and sets the child up for bullying, scapegoating and marginalization."

But as parents well know, bullying is hard for any child to avoid. It's more important to raise someone who's confident enough in himself to overcome peer pressure. It's also important to have his parents have his back (remember the mom who defended her son's choice in a Halloween costume?) Maybe Sasha's early years will be character building, maybe he'll have a higher emotional quotient being raised with dual perspectives on gender. Or the reverse could be true: Sasha may have less of a formed identity because of his upbringing, and feel angry at his mom for dressing him in flowery shirts and telling the world about it. Then again, maybe he'll get over it.

As for Laxton, she says she's open to her son pursing any career or sexual preference he chooses as he matures. "As long as he has good relationships and good friends," she says, "then nothing else matters, does it?"
 

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I feel awful for this child. It is not that difficult to tell a child, "Yes you are a boy but you can play with girl's toys or wear girl's clothes."  How can any of these be character building when they're almost denying one of the main characteristics of his existence: he's a boy. If the parents are all for gender neutrality and would allow him to wear a pink swimming costume why not the skull print shirt or cargo pants?  Last I checked, boys stood up to pee and that is not a stereotype, it's nature.
 

I just hope this child isn't bullied or traumetized for the rest of his life. School is hard enough with all the cliques and peer pressure.  Like a funny quote said below the article, " You can only be so open-minded before your brain falls out." 

 
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Why do some parents want to treat their children like anthropological experiments?  How do these parents think these children are going to compete in the real world if they don't even have gender roles?  I think they all have the best intentions but not only are they gonna get bullied in school, they aren't even going to fit into society.

 
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Yeah I am not understanding this whole "gender neutral" trend either. A boy is a boy no matter how you dress him or have him act. Internally he will always be a boy. But more and more people are picking up on this trend and I can just feel the moral fabric of society ripping at the seems!

 
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I had a second read at the article.  The parents are trying to remove masculine gender bias and replace it with feminine gender bias.  While he could not wear overtly masculine skull and crossbones, he can wear a shiny pink bathing suit which is incredibly feminine?  If I was keeping all the children gender neutral, they'd all wear grey coloured plain t-shirts or white and plain elastisized denim jeans with keds. Soooo very sad how those parents are abusing that child by depriving him of his identity. 

 
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Originally Posted by divadoll /img/forum/go_quote.gif

I had a second read at the article.  The parents are trying to remove masculine gender bias and replace it with feminine gender bias.  While he could not wear overtly masculine skull and crossbones, he can wear a shiny pink bathing suit which is incredibly feminine?  If I was keeping all the children gender neutral, they'd all wear grey coloured plain t-shirts or white and plain elastisized denim jeans with keds. Soooo very sad how those parents are abusing that child by depriving him of his identity. 
 Exactly my point! The way they're raising him is feminine biased, it's almost like they don't want him to be masculine in any way. This is such a sad experiment on a child and even worse bc the parents are doing it.

 
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Wow. 

My daughter, knows she's a girl... has sparkly things and wears her tutu around the house while skateboarding with her brother and playing with Lightning McQueen race cars sets that we bought her because... she likes to play with cars.  She owns more Hot Wheels cars than dolls... but she also likes puzzles and other toys.

She knows who she is and what she's comfortable doing... gender never came into play.  It was never, you cant watch that or play with that because its a boy's toy or anything... geeesh... some people make a big deal about something and that's when it really becomes an issue... when they make it an issue.

 
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I remember back when this was in the news a few years ago. There is a couple here in Toronto that have taken this route with their little one as well.

Gender neutral should most definitely not include a sparkly pink swimsuit. That sounds worse then skull t-shirts. Skulls are gender neutral... anyone have an alexander mcqueen iconic skull scarf or kat von d inspired clothing?

This child may grow up and be upset with his parents for "experimenting" with him and sharing it with the world.

Im not bashing their choice in parenting, but this is not something I would choose to do with/to my child.

 
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After I had my son, I had made the decision to avoid violence in my house.  I did not buy toy guns, tanks, army men or anything that would illustrate violence.  I didn't inhibit his need to express his gender but I would stop him if he was pretending to shoot at something.  I purchased clothing that were gender neutral - straight jeans, unprinted tshirts and plain runners for him.  This also made it easier to hand down to any other siblings he may have in the future or to my sister's children. 

I am disapproving of those parents that try to mess with how that child is going to interact with the rest of society.  My children are going to have to interact with that hot mess that those people are trying to create. 

 
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After I had my son, I had made the decision to avoid violence in my house.  I did not buy toy guns, tanks, army men or anything that would illustrate violence.  I didn't inhibit his need to express his gender but I would stop him if he was pretending to shoot at something.
I played with toy guns and tanks and army stuff.... Didn't effect me one bit! Lol.
 
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Ya forgot to mention your twitching ;) /emoticons/[email protected] 2x" width="20" height="20" />  

My son is now 14, he's liking guns anyways.

Originally Posted by Karren /img/forum/go_quote.gif


I played with toy guns and tanks and army stuff.... Didn't effect me one bit! Lol.

 
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I wonder if these parents ever considered what the long time psychological effects their little experiment may have. It's one thing trying to bring up your children to know they can wear whatever they want to, play with anything they wish to play with and be anything they want to be and another thing to deny them their gender. I grew up playing with Barbies, My Little Ponies and Hot Wheels, toy guns, video games, collected hockey trading cards, etc. At one time I only wanted to wear my older brothers old clothes and that was fine too. I knew I was a girl but I was never under the impression that one sex was superior to the other and that certain toys was inappropriate because of my gender.

 
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but I was never under the impression that one sex was superior to the other and that certain toys was inappropriate because of my gender.
Most boys know they aren't supposed to play with Barbies. Or borrow their sisters clothes!
 
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I really don't think that's true.  Young boys will play with whatever their parents are going to hand them same as girls.  They would not know not to wear girl clothes unless someone points that out. Usually it's their peers that will point that out and its usually not in a nice way.  There was a child in my daughter's grade 1 class that didn't know cartoons were not real. 

Originally Posted by Karren /img/forum/go_quote.gif
ywou
Most boys know they aren't supposed to play with Barbies. Or borrow their sisters clothes! 

 
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Originally Posted by Karren /img/forum/go_quote.gif


Most boys know they aren't supposed to play with Barbies. Or borrow their sisters clothes!
I don't think that's quite true, at least not for younger boys. I have friends who works at daycare centers and they say the boys, especially 3-4 year-olds play with dolls and/or dress up as princesses almost daily. However it does get harder to do that as they get older, unfortunately it's still more accepted for girls to do traditional "boy stuff" than for boys to be interested in traditional "girly stuff" and all it takes is one older kid to say it for them to be ashamed.

 
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, unfortunately it's still more accepted for girls to do traditional "boy stuff" than for boys to be interested in traditional "girly stuff" and all it takes is one older kid to say it for them to be ashamed.
Yeah.... an older kid or my wife! lol
 
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I've been reading the post and just like others who commented... I didn't understand the reason why they should not tell the gender of the child. Do they want to make their child stupid?If not, then it is not seen in their actions and attitude that they presented to their child. If he's a boy, let him live as what other boy lives, and if she's a girl, let her be.


 
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Why do some parents want to treat their children's gender? i really can't understand as i think it is a so stupid thing that beyond my thoughts. frankly speaking, parents mentioned in this text aren't responsible for the kid. and they don't bear the corresponding duty.

 
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I so agree.  Forcing feminine traits on a boy is not gender neutral.  Let him be a boy and be a mother figure for him.  He will make his own choices.

There really are other more important things to teach a child be it boy or girl... like how to deal with everyday situations.  Preparing a child to survive on their own when you are no longer around to guide him or her.

 
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I agree with the sentiments here! I have wondered the same thing: if gender doesn't matter and you should love and accept yourself as you are, then what the hell is the point of forcing anything regarding gender? I especially agree with the sparkly girls swimsuit vs. cargo pants comments here. Personally, I was raised with Legos, crayons, books, playing outside, an infant doll, and swim floaters. My mom dressed me in pink because she was excited to have her first baby, but once I was in Kindergarten I insisted on dresses and bows anyway. When I wanted to get my ears pierced in 2nd grade my dad wanted me to wait until high school so I wouldn't regret the decision when I was older. He carried a purse and insisted that it be called one too. My parents taught me about homosexuality and that it just was. No insisting it was wrong or right. Just, some men fall in love with women and some men fall in love with men. I'm the one who defended the effeminate boy at school when others made fun of him in early elementary school. My teachers pointed out to the class that I was a good example of someone who plays with girls AND boys. My parents raised me gender neutral and I turned out super girly anyway, but it raised me to just be myself and let others be themselves too. It wasn't really a conscious decision. It was just part of how I got to know the world as a child. Trees are green, I like hot pink the best, and some men fall in love with men.

 

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This is...well, I mean, kind of dumb. Mostly because they're allowing the super-feminine bathing suit and stuff. And I really wonder if the boy said, "No, I really want to wear the girl's uniform shirt at school!" ...Cause I'm doubting he did.

And I don't understand not revealing the gender. It would've been just as easy to say, "Sasha is a boy! If you'd like to bring a gift, we'd appreciate gender-neutral clothes and toys! Thanks!" Gender is natural...you've either got a penis or a vagina. No point in keeping that secret.

I DO understand not wanting to only have boy things and perpetuating that type of thing. I get it. I took developmental psychology and stuff. And it's perfectly fine to let your kid (and my girls love/loved bugs and dirt and trucks along with baby dolls and monster high) choose what they want to play with, regardless of it's "intended" gender-audience. That's all good. But this just seems like some sort of experiment...and it doesn't sound completely Neutral.

The kid could have it worse, I suppose. :) /emoticons/[email protected] 2x" width="20" height="20" />

 

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