In this family mom is dad and dad is mom – and their child has no gender.
Louise Draven was born a man but is having hormone treatment to transition into a woman, while her partner Nikki Draven was born a woman but some days she dresses as a man.
They are raising their four-year-old son, Star Cloud, as gender neutral. They want to teach him not to be “caught up” in gender norms and stereotypes.
“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,” Nikki told The Mirror.
The couple, from Middlesborough, teach their son that he is “a person” rather than “a boy”. He is free to wear make-up, pick out boys’ or girls’ clothes, paint his nails and play with dolls.
Star is set to go to school for the first time in September. Although he will go wearing a boy’s uniform, he has chosen to also wear a pink vest and socks.
Star has said himself that he might grow up to be a man or a woman.
Nikki says they want to give their son the freedom to be who he wants to be because they didn’t get that while they were growing up.
“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,” Nikki told The Sun.
“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.”
Louise is Star’s biological father, while Nikki – whom Star calls Daddy – is actually his birth mother.
Nikki claims Star chose which of his parents would be which when he referred to Nikki as “Da-da” rather than Louise, when he spoke his first words.
Louise and Nikki met at an LGBT meeting in 2011 and married the following year. Louise has been living as female since a year before Star was born and Nikki identifies as pansexual.
They told The Sun that they draw stares and have received very hurtful comments on their appearance.
“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 intimated because I was a bouncer in a gay bar, but Lou found it really upsetting,” Nikki admitted.
The couple says their decision to raise Star as gender fluid was not easy but they will not change the way they raise him.
“Of course we had doubts – what would other people say, what trouble could it cause, would our son be bullied?”