“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.”
Their child-rearing techniques are in line with advice from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London, a centre for psychological well-being, with a dedicated Gender Identity Development Service.
It recommends parents support younger children “to safely explore their interests, allegiances and preferred activities, whilst keeping a range of options open to them.”
It adds they should keep “an open mind about how a child’s interests and identity might develop over time.”
Nikki says staff at Star’s new school have been supportive in talks about his gender-neutrality. “They’ve said they want to do whatever they can to help. They seem quite pleased to have an inclusive family.”
Star himself seems a happy, chatty, rounded child who jumps from chair to chair as his parents talk – before beating up an oversized Paddington Bear and using a walking stick as a “Nerf gun” to beat up Nikki.
He says his favourite toys at nursery are Lego, cars and planes, and he provokes laughter by pointing at Nikki’s breasts, shouting: “Daddy’s boobies”.
Nikki identified as lesbian when she first met Louise, who was then male, at an LGBT meeting in 2011. They wed in a Pagan ceremony in January 2012.
Nikki says: “I don’t fall in love with someone because they’re male or female. It doesn’t matter to me what they’ve got between their legs.
“It’s the mind, personality and soul I fall in love with, not the body.” She identifies as pansexual and dresses masculine some days, while on others she will wear “high heels, a padded bra and lipstick.”
Louise is not close to her parents, but Nikki’s parents, Liz and Bob, at first found their decision to raise Star as gender neutral “difficult”. They urged them to bring him up “more traditionally”. Nikki recalls: “They’d ask why we didn’t dress him in blue and buy him boys’ toys.
“But they see now he’s such a happy, free child. Mum said Santa’s bringing him a pink bike for Christmas.”
The couple say they like to take Star shopping to choose his own toys “whether it be a train set or a doll.”
A year after Star’s birth they lost a second son, who died of a kidney problem at 21 weeks. They have since had a doll created from a picture of him, which Star often plays with.
Louise watches him play and says: “He’s happy, he’s healthy, we love him – and that’s the most important thing.
“Some people don’t care for their children at all. I’d rather Star was wearing a pink coat that he’s chosen himself than no coat at all.”