Toronto couple Kathy Witterick and David Stoker are raising their latest child, Storm, to be gender free. That is – they just aren’t telling anyone (family, neighbors, friends) what’s between Storm’s little legs. Parentalcentral.ca gives us the couple’s logic:
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? …)”…
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…
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.
By everyday standards, these parents are pretty radical on the whole spectrum of child-rearing styles. Some of their friends and family have protested against their decision to keep Storm’s sex to themselves on the basis that it’s a set-up for a childhood of bullying and ridicule.
The couple’s plan does appear just a little hard to stick to, if only because it seems logistically difficult to keep such a ‘secret’ – even being up to the child, I imagine the decision is most likely going to be demanded of its parents as it enters the social world of children and, for example, enjoys the basic benefits of modern society – doctor’s visits, public schooling, etc.
Regardless, the couple’s idea seems pretty great and innovative, if only to raise awareness of a notion we so take for granted – a notion that continues to be the source of relatively widespread injustice and oppression. Kids are thrown into this system from the moment they’re born, bombarded with their gender identities even before they leave the hospital. On that note, Witterick commented wisely, “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.”
Now who wants to bet on how long it’ll take the psychos with the “God Hates Fags” signs to show up at the kid’s house?