Is Your Baby a Boy or Girl? (Try: Either…or Neither)
The first question new parents are asked when they’re expecting a baby is: Boy or girl?
A Canadian couple is challenging society’s idea of gender identity by keeping the gender of their new baby a secret…even after birth. At four months, Storm is the third child for Kathy Witterick and David Stocker (a teacher at a small, alternative school that focuses on social justice issues), who have two other sons, Jazz (5) and Kio (2). Despite being boys, both Jazz and Kio were raised without assigned gender expectations or limitations, meaning they’re encouraged to play with boys and girls toys, wear boys and girls clothes (in “girly” colors of pink and purple), and grow their hair long if they choose.
The immediate family (including grandparents), a few close friends, and midwives know Storm’s true gender, but the parents have decided to keep the baby genderless by avoiding the use of male or female pronouns. Inspired by a book published in 1978, “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story” by Lois Gould, about a child raised without gender roles, the couple hoped to give Storm a chance to grow and decide on what gender to identify with, without society’s pressure.
While the couple’s decision has caused confusion and criticism (Will Storm feel marginalized later in life? Which public restroom will Storm use? Are the parents pushing their own political and social agendas on Storm?), the debate around gender identity comes hot on the heels of more recent news. Chaz Bono, formerly Chastity Bono, just released a memoir and a documentary about his decision to become a man through a sex-change operation. Cheryl Kilodavis, a mother of a little boy who loves wearing tutus and tiaras, was on national news earlier this year after writing “The Princess Boy.”
In a world that delineates between the power of princesses and the strength of superheroes, could the couple’s unique parenting decision succeed in helping society get rid of gender labels and stereotypes?
Read more about gender identity on Parents.com
- Positive Ways to Address Gender Identity Issues
- ‘My Princess Boy’: Interview with Cheryl Kilodavis
- ‘Cinderella Ate My Daughter’: Interview with Peggy Orenstein
What do you think of keeping your child’s gender a secret? Would you do the same?Add a Comment