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17 September 2019, 12:52 | Updated: 18 September 2019, 10:40
One couple have opened up about their decision to keep their 17-month old baby’s sex private to help avoid “unconscious gender bias”.
Hobbit Humphrey and Jake England-Johns are parents to 17-month old Anoush, who they are raising as gender neutral.
In order to help their baby avoid unconscious gender bias, the couple do not tell anyone the gender of their baby, and even kept the details secret from Anoush’s grandparents for almost a year.
The family of three appeared on BBC’s Inside Out, where they defended their parenting decisions.
Anoush’s mother Hobbit said: “We decided not to tell anyone what sex our baby is.
“So much gender bias is unconscious, when I got pregnant we then had a conversation about how we were going to mitigate the unconscious bias, and we figured that the only way that we could do that was just not to tell people.”
She continued to explain: “To use the they/them pronouns, just for as long as we can, create a bubble for our baby to be who they are.”
Jake admitted that they are often met with confused faces when they tell people they don’t share Anoush’s sex, but said they are used to the uncomfort it causes many people.
Jake explained: “‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ is such a regular question, even people in the street will ask you, so we are quite good now at holding space for people’s discomfort in us going ‘well, actually, we don’t tell anyone’.”
Hobbit showed the camera crew some of Anoush’s outfits which range from floral trousers to dresses, to pieces with blue and purple tones.
Anoush’s toys are also varied from tea sets to cars.
Hobbit admits her family found it difficult at first to come around to their decision.
Hobbit’s mother appeared on the BBC show, where she admitted she struggled at first, explaining: “This is my only daughter who has had a baby, and wanting the details and things, and it was a struggle."
Hobbit’s mother found of the sex of the baby just less than a year after they were born, as when she looked after her grandchild, she was regularly changing nappies.
Now, the grandmother says she is glad she has had this experience, even though it was a “learning curve”.
Hobbit and Jake said that while they are raising Anoush as gender neutral now, this will be an on-going conversation between each other and of course their baby when they are old enough to express what they want.
Jake said: “We’re not doing something that we think is dangerous, we’re just doing something which is a bit unusual at this point.”
He added: “We’re not trying to make them be anything, we just want them to be themselves.”