The first question people ask after hearing of a new arrival is usually, “Boy or girl?”
Friends and family of one Canadian couple are getting no answer to this simple inquiry. Kathy Witterick and her husband David Stocker have decided to keep baby Storm's gender a secret.
“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?),” the couple wrote in an email to friends and family after Storm’s birth, according to the Toronto Star.
Other than Storm’s parents, the only other people to know Storm’s gender are the couple’s two sons, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, the midwives who delivered the baby and a close family friend. They got the idea to raise a genderless child from a book they found in the library, and told the paper the secrecy is about giving their children freedom.
“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” Stocker told the paper. He and his wife allow Jazz and Kio to choose their clothing from both the boys' and girls' departments – including pink dresses - and how they want to wear their hair.
Although many parents rebel against traditional pink and blue clothing for their babies, and give dolls to their boys and trucks to their girls, Storm’s parents’ decision seems to have touched a nerve, sparking discussion on news outlets and blogs around the world. Comments on the original story accuse the parents of being “irresponsible,” confusing their children, and setting up Storm for “future damage.”
“Reading the story I thought about Storm’s brothers,” writes Lisa Belkin in the New York Times blog Motherlode. “What message is being sent to them, telling them that their sibling’s sex is an unspillable secret. Doesn’t that in itself give gender the all-defining importance that these parents are trying to avoid?”
This isn’t the first time a family has decided to raise a genderless child. A couple in Sweden kept the gender of their 2-year-old child, named Pop, a secret, saying they want “Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold from the outset.” The latest stories about Pop date back to last summer. Wonder how that's working out?
What do you think of this couple’s decision to keep Storm’s gender a secret?
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