Couple hide baby's gender to protect them from 'unconscious bias'

A British couple are raising their baby gender-neutral to protect them from 'unconscious bias' [Stock photo: Getty]

A 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’ programme last night and told of their decision not to reveal the gender of their baby.

The couple, who are both circus performers and live on a house boat near Bath, have decided to dress their child in both boy’s and girl’s clothing and use gender-neutral pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’.

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Speaking on the programme, 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.

The couple have decided to keep their baby's gender hidden [Photo: BBC]

Hobbit Humphrey added: "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.”

The couple are so protective of their child’s gender that the baby was 11 months old before their grandparents found out their gender, while changing the baby’s nappy.

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Speaking on the programme the baby’s grandmother, Camille, 64, said though it was a struggle at first not knowing how to refer to the baby, as with any learning 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 Mr 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 say 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.”

The couple want their child to decide their gender when they're older [Photo: BBC]

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 are dedicated to raising a “theyby” 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, eight, and Sparrow, one.

Appearing on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’, they spoke of their decision to raise Sparrow as a gender-neutral “they-by”, using the pronouns of “they/them” rather than “she” or “he”.

They told Piers Morgan: “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.”

Some celebrities have also opened up about their parenting decisions regarding their child’s gender.

Back in 2017, musician Paloma Faith hit headlines after announcing she would be raising her baby as gender neutral.

She later opened up to Yahoo UK in an exclusive interview where she explained what this meant for her.

The singer isn’t raising her child without telling them their gender; instead, she simply wants to ’empower’ her child by not giving them gendered toys or clothing.

“It’s wrong to constrain your child to a gender stereotype,” she explains. “A child just needs to be who they are and not labelled. My nephews always had a pushchair and a doll, growing up, and they’re kind boys with a lot of empathy.”