A couple who have been raising their child as ‘gender neutral’ have revealed that their five-year-old Sasha is a boy.
Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper decided to keep their son’s sex a secret because they feared he would be influenced by gender stereotypes.
But critics have argued that a child’s sex is important to the formation of their self-identity.
Lucie Russell, of Young Minds mental health charity, said: “Children aren’t experiments. Early child development is about finding an identity.
“Knowing and promoting whether you are a girl or a boy helps with forming one’s self-identity.”
And commentator Melanie Phillips said that Sasha’s “full potential lies in what he will achieve as a boy, not in turning into a girl.
“And the stark truth is that by telling him that the latter is an option, his parents are putting him at a terrible disadvantage.
“Not only are they likely to make him the butt of ridicule, but far more seriously they risk plunging him into damaging and long-lasting psychological confusion about what exactly he is.”
The couple, who are both in their forties, avoided revealing the youngster’s sex by describing him as “the infant”.
As Sasha grew he was encouraged to play with dolls as well as Lego, he slept in a neutral yellow room and he was also allowed to wear both boys’ and girls’ clothes.
His parents have now posted a short video on the internet showing him saying that it’s “silly” to talk of differences between boys and girls. When asked if boys and girls are different he says “no”.
Last May it emerged that two parents in Canada had decided to raise a ‘genderless baby’ – in “a tribute to freedom and choice”.
Kathy Witterick and David Stocker already had two boys, Jazz and Kio, but with their third child, called Storm, they decided to keep the child’s sex a secret.
But Glenn Stanton, a family researcher, said the parents’ thinking was purely “storybook”.