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Parents keep child's gender secret; raising genderless child


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  • Parents keep child's gender secret; raising genderless child

    Parents keep child's gender secret
    May 21, 2011

    Jayme Poisson
    Staff Reporter

    “So it’s a boy, right?” a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier.

    Each week the woman asks the same question about the baby with the squishy cheeks and feathery blond hair.

    Witterick smiles, opens her arms wide, comments on the sunny spring day, and keeps walking.

    She’s used to it. The neighbours know Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don’t pretend to understand it.

    While there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, they aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.

    The only people who know are Storm’s brothers, J***, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby in a birthing pool at their Toronto home on New Year’s Day.

    “When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’” says Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table.

    “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.

    When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “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? ...).”

    Their announcement was met with stony silence. Then the deluge of criticisms began. Not just about Storm, but about how they were parenting their other two children.

    The grandparents were supportive, but resented explaining the gender-free baby to friends and co-workers. They worried the children would be ridiculed. Friends said they were imposing their political and ideological values on a newborn. Most of all, people said they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders.

    Witterick and Stocker believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females. Some say their choice is alienating.

    In an age where helicopter parents hover nervously over their kids micromanaging their lives, and tiger moms ferociously push their progeny to get into Harvard, Stocker, 39, and Witterick, 38, believe kids can make meaningful decisions for themselves from a very early age.

    “What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.

    J*** and Kio have picked out their own clothes in the boys and girls sections of stores since they were 18 months old. Just this week, J*** unearthed a pink dress at Value Village, which he loves because it “really poofs out at the bottom. It feels so nice.” The boys decide whether to cut their hair or let it grow.

    Like all mothers and fathers, Witterick and Stocker struggle with parenting decisions. The boys are encouraged to challenge how they’re expected to look and act based on their sex.

    “We thought that if we delayed sharing that information, in this case hopefully, we might knock off a couple million of those messages by the time that Storm decides Storm would like to share,” says Witterick.

    They don’t want to isolate their kids from the world, but, when it’s meaningful, talk about gender.

    This past winter, the family took a vacation to Cuba with Witterick’s parents. Since they weren’t fluent in Spanish, they flipped a coin at the airport to decide what to tell people. It landed on heads, so for the next week, everyone who asked was told Storm was a boy. The language changed immediately. “What a big, strong boy,” people said.

    The moment a child’s sex is announced, so begins the parade of pink and barrage of blue. Tutus and toy trucks aren’t far behind. The couple says it only intensifies with age.

    “In fact, in not telling the gender of my precious baby, I am saying to the world, ‘Please can you just let Storm discover for him/herself what s (he) wants to be?!.” Witterick writes in an email.

    Rest of the article
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance.

  • #2
    Some real good parenting going on there. "Whatya mean they won't let you in to the Girlscouts? Well, I guess I'll just go have to have a talk with them about gender stereotyping." I see that poor kid being teased unmercifully.


    • #3
      I feel bad for the kid. Wonder how messed up he'll turn out because of his wacky parents. It figures they'd want press coverage of this too.


      • #4
        Im sure the kid will make headlines when he/she chops up his parents and buries them in a trunk.


        • #5
          These ids will be here in a few years in ask a cop wanting to know why they have to follow the rules to be cops, why they have to listen to policies and supervisors when they just wanna live life.

          I foresee brats and people unable to take personal responsibility very quickly.


          • #6
            Should make for an interesting prom night.


            • #7
              I bet the kids ALL grow up to hate their parents once they look back at their screwed up childhood. If my mother let me walk around in a pink dress because it was pooch and pretty, I'd never talk to her again.

              Cheers, future pschyzo's of America.
              If you continue looking back at where you've been, that's where you'll keep going. Look forward to where you want to go, and you will find yourself there soon enough.


              • #8
                Maybe this is out bisexuality get started? I mean just saying.
                Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water.


                • #9
                  Oh, my.

                  So they think they are HELPING the child by not letting it in on the big "secret"? Letting it "decide" for itself what gender it would prefer to be? Whether it is that or not?

                  Why make this so complicated?

                  Maybe I am dense, but I am not getting it.
                  We do not all come to religion over the wandering years,
                  but sooner or later we all get to meet God. -- Edward Conlon


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KJB View Post
                    Im sure the kid will make headlines when he/she chops up his parents and buries them in a trunk.


                    "Gender is between the ears, not the legs."




                    • #11
                      I was raised to pretty much ignore societal "norms" for genders. That is, not to listen to people who say that girls shouldn't be racing derby cars, playing with trucks ....going into law enforcement! But what gender I actually am was never a secret!
                      "Of course America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up."


                      • #12
                        Nikk I am raising my kid that way. The kid knows their gender/sex. They also know it doesn't matter if you rather race cars, be a nurse, or be a physicist. Your gender doesn't limit that. What limits that are the experiences and opportunities a child is exposed too.

                        These people are idiots that will end up damaging their kids more than helping them.
                        What Would Serpico Do?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kjb View Post
                          im sure the kid will make headlines when he/she chops up his parents and buries them in a trunk.
                          ^^^ this ^^^


                          • #14
                            Gender is slightly relevant to the extent that, at least from what I'm told, you have to be opposite genders to procreate. And this, IMO, is really why we're here.

                            Imagine if we all did this. Sure, you got a 50/50 shot at getting it right but in the interest of saving time, I think we should all reveal our genders pretty early on.

                            "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.


                            • #15
                              Since the persons in care custody and control of this infant mammal won't say what it is animal control should confiscate it and when it's determined that it's human it should be turned over to child protective services who will make sure it knows which restroom to go to by the time it's old enough to go on its own.


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