You’re pregnant and can’t wait for the ultrasound that will finally reveal the sex of your child. You have a desire to bond with your baby and to prepare for the arrival of your bundle of joy. You look through baby-name books and make a list of the ones you like for boys and girls, depending on the sex, or…..wait a minute… you don’t believe in gender identity?
I’m not talking about choosing Michael for a boy or Daisy for a girl, nor do I mean dressing Michael in blue and Daisy in pink. I’m talking about raising your kid to be genderless, like the Canadian parents of Storm, a four-month-old baby, who refuse to reveal the sex of their baby in the hopes of curbing sexual stereotyping.
Kathy Witterick, 38 and David Stocker, 39, are the parents of Storm, their youngest child who has two older brothers, Jazz 5 and Kio 2. Only the brothers, the two nurse midwives who helped deliver Storm at home, and a very close family friend know whether Storm is a boy or a girl. What prompted them to do this with baby Storm? They say to offer “their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females.”
The grandparents, although supportive, resented explaining this lack of gender to friends and co-workers. “They worried the children would be ridiculed,” and furthermore, most people said “they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders.”
According to Michele Angello, a U.S. psychologist, “There is little hard, scientific data on exactly what does make people feel and act like a boy or a girl, but some evidence points to gender identity being hard-wired.”
I’d like to refer to the book I mentioned in a previous post called, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein, where she says that when her daughter, Daisy, was born, “I was committed to raising her without a sense of limits: I wanted her to believe neither that some behavior or toy or profession was not for her sex.” Orenstein then explains how on Daisy’s first day of pre-school at age two, she wore her favorite “engineer overalls” and her Thomas the Tank Engine lunchbox. “All it took was one boy who yelled, ‘Girls don’t like trains!'” and within a month, Daisy knew the names and gown colors of every Disney princess.
This brings me back to Storm’s brothers, Kio and Jazz. Were others told their sex and why have they both chosen long braided hair? All I can say is they must have incredibly strong personalities to stand up for themselves at school, as I am sure other kids have made hurtful comments.
Kathy and David state, “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? …),” they said.
And David believes, “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs.”
What do you think?
Are parents raising their kid to be genderless right or wrong?
I can’t wait to get a Gutsy discussion going.