Gender fluidity is hotly debated subjected at the moment. Plenty of people have weighed in with their opinions on the concept, with some arguing that you’re either a boy or girl, and that it’s as simple as that, while others believe that it’s not so black and white.
Parents Louise and Nikki Draven fall into the latter category, and are raising Britain’s first genderfluid family, where their child is being brought up as neither a boy or a girl.
Four-year-old Star, who was born as a boy, is being raised gender neutral by his parents. Star’s mom is Louise, who was actually born a man, but is in transition to become a woman through hormone treatment. Nikki, who is Star’s dad, was actually born as a woman but dresses in either a “masculine” or “feminine” way depending on the day of the week.
To put it simply, Mom Louise is actually Star’s biological father, while dad Nikki, is actually the birth mother.
Speaking about their gender-fluid family, Nikki said: “Neither of us gets hung up on the gender we were born as.
“We don’t want our child constrained by that either. We’re just an ordinary family being who we want to be.”
Star will begin school in September and will wear a boy’s uniform, but he will also wear a pink vest and socks which he has chosen. The child says that he will grow up to be a boy or a girl eventually.
Former bounce Nikki, says: “We want to give him the confidence to be who he wants – growing up, we didn’t have that.
“We never tell Star he’s a boy, we tell him he can be whatever he wants. We don’t buy gender specific toys or clothes and we let him choose what he wears. Pink is one of his favourite colours.
“He loves wearing leggings and, because of his name, he loves clothes with star patterns on.
“He loves Barbie dolls, dressing up and fairies – but he also likes toys considered as boys’, such as cars.
“We use the words ‘he’ and ‘him’ but don’t make any kind of big deal out of him being one sex or the other.”
Nikki also says that Star “chose” which of his parents would be mom and which one would be dad, he apparently called Nikki “Da-da” and allowed her to lift him of his cot, rather than Louise.
The couple say they have received a fair share of abuse, with Nikki saying: “It was worse when Star was small and Louise was first transitioning because people would point, stare and laugh.
“Sometimes they’d even follow us shouting insults. I’m not easily intimidated because I was a bouncer in a gay bar, but Lou found it really upsetting.”
While the couple have been on the receiving end of threats and bullying, they don’t let this fear of abuse stop them from encouraging their son to step outside of the gender boundaries: “Star is only in nursery but has already been put under pressure by other children. He came home the other day saying, ‘I can’t play with dolls – they’re for girls’.
“We sat him down and explained that anyone can play with dolls and that it’s good practice for when he grows up and is a daddy. He said, ‘I might not be a daddy – I might be a mammy!
“When we decided to raise Star as gender fluid we talked about things like other children’s attitudes.
“Of course we had doubts – what would other people say, what trouble could it cause, would our son be bullied?
“But then we realised children always find a reason to bully other kids.
“When one boy told him he looks like a girl, Star told them he looked like the comic book hero Aquaman.”
Although not everyone agrees with it, their parenting techniques are in line with the advice issued from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London, which is a centre specialising in psychological well-being, with a dedicated Gender Identity Development Service.
Whatever you think of the way Nikki and Louise are raising Star, as long as the child is happy, that’s all the matters really.