British couple reveals sex of child they raised as ‘genderless’ for 5 years

SAWSTON, England -- A British couple who raised their child as "gender neutral" in a bid to break free from stereotyping revealed Friday that their five-year-old is a boy.

Beck Laxton and her partner Kieran, from Sawston in central England, referred to their son, Sasha, as "the infant" and dressed the youngster in ambiguous outfits to keep his sex a secret from friends and strangers.

They decided to tell people the child's gender after it became more difficult to conceal when he started pre-school.

Laxton, a 46-year-old web editor, told the Cambridge News of her reasons for raising a "genderless" child.

"I wanted to avoid all that stereotyping," she said. "Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?"

Even the couple themselves chose not to discover whether Sasha was a boy or a girl until half an hour after his birth -- and in an email announcing the birth they simply told family and friends they "had a baby called Sasha."

"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," she said. "All I want to do is make people think a bit."

The couple is happy to allow Sasha to wear flowery clothes -- and sent family and friends a Christmas card with a photo of the boy dressed in a pink fairy outfit.

Sasha is encouraged to play with gender-neutral toys in the family's television-free home, Laxton said.

A couple from Toronto hit the headlines in May last year when they refused to reveal the sex of their baby, Storm, as they wanted to raise the child "to be free of societal norms regarding gender."