Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s oldest biological child has long expressed an interest in being called John. Shiloh Jolie-Pitt was assigned female at birth – but since the age of 3 has preferred to wear suits and short haircuts – and her family are happy to oblige.
The Hollywood couple’s 8-year-old attended the Unbroken film premiere in December, sporting a short haircut and wearing a suit and tie that matched her older brothers Pax, 11, and Maddox, 13.
Shiloh’s tomboy style isn’t just a passing phase – Brad revealed Shiloh wanted to be addressed as John since the age of 2. “She only wants to be called John. John or Peter. So it’s a Peter Pan thing,” he told Oprah Winfrey in 2008. “So we’ve got to call her John. ‘Shi, do you want…’ ‘John. I’m John.’ And then I’ll say, ‘John, would you like some orange juice?’ And she goes, ‘No!’ So, you know, it’s just that kind of stuff that’s cute to parents and it’s probably really obnoxious to other people.”
And Angelina revealed that her daughter prefers to wear suits over dresses – Shiloh, then 4, is pictured below-right with her family. “Shiloh, we feel has Montenegro style. It’s how people dress there. She likes tracksuits, she likes [regular] suits. So it’s a suit with a tie and a jacket and slacks, or a tracksuit,” the mum told Vanity Fair in 2010. “She likes to dress like a boy. She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”
Everyone in the family has now obliged to Shiloh’s wishes and seem to fully support the 8-year-old’s decision to self-identify – and a clinical psychologist agrees Angelina and Jolie shouldn’t worry about Shiloh’s behaviour. “To explore what it means to be both genders is also totally normal,” Lind Blair told the Telegraph. “But the problem is we have suppressed it for so many generations, that people are still uncomfortable with it. You can’t become what you are until you know what you’re not.”
So it might be that Shiloh will grow up to be transgender or otherwise gender-nonconforming – or it could just be an exploration phase. But whatever Shiloh decides, the freedom to explore gender identity given by Angelina and Brad, will certainly make their firstborn’s discovery process much easier.