An Irish lawmaker has said he doesn’t want to limit his newborn baby by labeling them as a boy or a girl, wanting them to have the freedom to decide their own gender.
Paul Murphy, an Irish People Before Profit–Solidarity politician who has represented the Dublin South-West constituency since 2014, sat down with the Irish Times newspaper to discuss his approach to fatherhood.
He explained how he and his partner, Jess, had trouble conceiving but were eventually successful via a third round of IVF and recently gave birth to a baby named Juniper.
“Regardless of whether it was male or female, it was going to be Juniper. I think it’s a gender-neutral name,” Murphy told the newspaper.
Juniper is a male, but Murphy insists the couple is not labeling the baby as a boy.
“We’re not gendering it. So we’re not describing Juniper as a boy, we’re describing Juniper as a baby, but it is male.
“We live in a deeply sexist and gendered society which creates certain expectations for boys and certain expectations for girls. And those things are changing in a positive direction, but there’s a very, very long way to go,” he said.
The Irish MP said he will use the “they” pronoun to describe the new-born, adding that while he and his partner will not “be out there correcting people’s pronouns,” the parents “don’t want to limit the kind of future they will foresee for themselves, the role they will perceive for themselves, the type of play they will perceive for themselves by saying ‘you’re a boy or you’re a girl,” and just want Juniper “to decide for themselves.”
“You want to dress in pink? Fire ahead. You want to dress in blue? Fire ahead. You want to play football? Brilliant. You want to go dancing? Amazing… it’s just not to limit. Obviously, the vast majority of parents do gender their child, and I’ve no criticism of that whatsoever, no judgment. But it is true that if you put the label, boy or girl, on your child, you definitely increase the chances of them going down one road or another.”
Murphy told the newspaper that he and his partner will respect any decision Juniper makes about his gender, revealing that if he decides at the age of 3 that he wants to identify as a girl “then great, you’re a girl.”
“That’s for Juniper to discover their own gender identity as opposed to us to assume based on their sex,” he added.
In a tweet announcing the new-born, Murphy’s partner wrote: “Lots of people have asked, ‘what did you have?’
“We had a healthy baby, and we are trying to create a home environment which doesn’t place limits or expectations on what Juniper is interested in or who they will become. That is all.”