Parents keep child’s gender secret
A couple from Canada made the decision to raise their newborn baby “genderless”. They are accomplishing this by not revealing the baby’s sex to anyone except a close family friend and their two older children, ages 5 and 2. Kathy Witterick and David Stocker’s newest member of their family is named Storm and he or she is a blue eyed, chubby cheek 5 month old.
The parents sent this email out after Storm’s birth to family and friends: “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”
“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.
Apparently Storm’s grandparents are supportive but at the same time resented having to explain a gender-free baby to friends and co-workers. They were also worried that the child would be made fun of and bullied in school and social situations.
Stocker and Witterick believe kids can make meaningful decisions for themselves from a very early age and have allowed their older children to pick out their own clothes from both the girl and boy sections of the store as well as how they wear their hair and when they get it cut. The oldest boy, Jazz, wears his hair in long braids and recently picked out a pink dress which he loves because it ‘really poofs out at the bottom’ and ‘feels so nice’. Pink is his favorite color. Kio, the 2 year old brother, loves purple and wears his hair below his chin.
Both boys have been mistaken for girls and two girls at a park were overheard not wanting to play with Jazz because he was a “girl boy”. Because of the way children and adults have reacted to Jazz in the past, he has chosen not to attend school. It was during this “intense” time for Jazz that both parents decided to not reveal Storm’s gender.
When I heard about this story last night I immediately asked my husband, “What bathroom will this child use”? Funny the things that pop into your head. I guess that is a couple of years off and the parents responded when asked when it would end with: “Everyone keeps asking us, ‘When will this end?’” says Witterick. “And we always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”
Personally, I kind of feel sad for this child. I am not sure what these parents are doing is making anything easier for Storm. Strict and rigid gender roles are not emotionally healthy and can be damaging for some children but this seems like a somewhat extreme way to try and allow this child to figure out his own identity.
In the end, this family appears like a very loving family and they have every right to determine how they raise their children as long as they are well cared for.
What are your thoughts on this? Are they doing this child a favor or setting he/she up for trying times ahead?