Parents won’t reveal child’s gender even after birth

Would keeping your child’s gender a secret from all outsiders help your child grow to be whomever they want to be?

That is the theory that Canadian parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are working under with their 4-month old child, Storm. They aren’t revealing Storm’s sex to anyone other than their other two children, a close friend and the two midwives that helped deliver the baby.

From parentcentral.ca:

“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? …).”…

“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.”

Storm’s siblings are both boys but are allowed to wear whatever they choose and grow their hair however they want.

“Jazz — soft-spoken, with a slight frame and curious brown eyes — keeps his hair long, preferring to wear it in three braids, two in the front and one in the back, even though both his parents have close-cropped hair. His favourite colour is pink, although his parents don’t own a piece of pink clothing between them. He loves to paint his fingernails and wears a sparkly pink stud in one ear, despite the fact his parents wear no nail polish or jewelry.”

The article says that as a result of how the boys dress most people assume they are girls and the parents don’t correct them. They say it’s up to boys to reveal to what they choose.

For example, Jazz asked him mother to write a note on his application to a nature program that he is boy because he likes the leaders and wants them to know.

OK there is so much going on in this article. Please, please click on the link and read the entire thing. There is lots more about the parents unschooling, criticisms that they hear and what psychologists think of the approach.

Then come back and tell us what you think:

Does not revealing the child’s gender make it more of an issue or less of an issue?

Does not revealing the gender put the focus on the child’s gender instead of all the amazing things the child can do? (Or will be able to do as they grow older.)

They are pretty much gender neutral with the other two children so is that a better approach than not telling?

Would it somehow confuse or hurt a child not to know which camp they belonged to?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. I have increased my Twitter activity. I am sending out great stories for moms each day focusing on health, fitness, sex, entertainment, food, travel and obviously parenting! So follow me on Twitter at @AJCMOMania!)

56 comments Add your comment

DB

May 24th, 2011
1:05 am

(banging head against the keyboard) Why, oh why do idiot parents use their children as social engineering experiments?!?! Between growing up “unschooled” and sexually ambiguous, these are kids that have years of therapy ahead of them unless they totally shun the world. And where’s the fun in that?

Jeff

May 24th, 2011
3:24 am

You all know me well enough by now, so here goes.

There was a boy growing up in my town in SC in the late 70’s whose mother was helll bent on having a daughter. She insisted on birthday gifts being dolls, taught him to use the bathroom sitting down, etc. The boy snapped as a teenager and ultimately became mentally ill and committed suicide over his confusion.

Sexuality is a powerful road wrought with danger and confusion. It traps even the most stable of people (see affairs). Messing with someone’s head only makes it worse.

Senior Citizen Kane

May 24th, 2011
6:24 am

This is great, but I think a name change for Kathy and David is in order. How about Nutty and Nuttier?

catlady

May 24th, 2011
7:20 am

Since they are Canadian, we won’t have to support the kids, so what do we care?

IG2BAFG

May 24th, 2011
7:21 am

Good job screwing up your kids for life, whackjobs.

mom2alex&max

May 24th, 2011
7:27 am

After getting over my initial facepalm stage on reading this article, I started thinking about gender roles.

I have two sons, and while I think I have been raising them not to think of girl things are boy things exclusively, I probably have.

My sister has twins, three years old, one boy one girl. That has been a very interesting experiment to observe. She has bought and received toys that are “typical” of both genders and they are all communal toys. She has assigned NO specific ownership over any specific toys. Regardless, THEY DID. The girl considers the dolls, toy strollers, and toy jewelery hers. The boy considers the toy cars and trucks and trains his. And they had no ones input on this.

I think it is just slightly possible that however ridiculous these people are, they probably aren’t harming their children (with this thing anyways). I think children define their own gender on their own without anyone’s input.

mom2alex&max

May 24th, 2011
7:28 am

Theresa, my comment disappeared! Please find?

Miss Priss!

May 24th, 2011
7:34 am

How quaint! So the child will not be a “he” or a “she,” but an “it.” Does Canuck mean … kook?

Old School

May 24th, 2011
7:37 am

Trips to public restrooms will be interesting.

motherjanegoose

May 24th, 2011
7:52 am

My guess is that the child is not in day care nor the church nursery as someone would let the cat out of the bag. If anyone else keeps the child, at any point, they would know and have to stay inside the loop of confidence. This, to me, limits the socialization of the child.

Atlanta mom

May 24th, 2011
7:55 am

“a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation”
I guess Canada must be more backward than I thought. I haven’t noticed too many limitations on my daughters here in the US of A.

OldSchoolDad

May 24th, 2011
8:03 am

There’s your sign.

OldSchoolDad

May 24th, 2011
8:05 am

Instead of saving for the childrens’ college, I’m thinking the children would be better served if the parents went ahead and started saving for the psychiatrists they will one day need.

Lady Strange

May 24th, 2011
8:21 am

I think they are causing more problems doing things this way. I’m all for letting your kids be themselves regardless of gender, but this is a bit over the top.

Katherine

May 24th, 2011
8:27 am

I appreciate the ideas here, but I think it is very damaging to enforce these kinds of beliefs on a child. I know little boys who play with dolls that are just fine, and I don’t think they should be ridiculed because they prefer dolls over trucks. I also know little girls who like trucks. This is going beyond extreme, and I hope these kids are able to cope in the world as they grow up.

downsouth

May 24th, 2011
8:30 am

OSD – lol!
how do you spell Canada? C-eh-N-eh-duhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
those icebacks sure are crazy, take off, eh?

omg MJG, they’re not being socialized “properly” since the newborn isn’t in daycare, nor the church nursery, nor some other babysitter??? heavens to betsy, what is this world coming to?

as long as the kids are loved, they’ll be far ahead of many kids who don’t experience much of that in any form.

Lady Strange

May 24th, 2011
8:40 am

I’m pretty sure MJG said it would limit the child’s socialization, not that the child wouldn’t be properly socialized…. And it does limit socialization to a point. At least the child has siblings to interact with.

motherjanegoose

May 24th, 2011
8:44 am

@downsouth…you may certainly disagree with me.

Teachers often seen children who have spent most of their lives only socializing with their own families and it is obvious. Our two went to church nursery at around 3 months and delighted in others who ooed and awed over them. They also were babysat by friends and neighbors, so that we could go out as adults alone and remember who we were before we became Mom and Dad. Guess we were wrong? We even had bedrooms for adults and bedrooms for children. They did visit us in our room but our mattresses were not on the floor and pushed together, per the article above. They slept in their own rooms. Guess that was wrong too ?

One problem with being a parent is, you generally do what you think is best and the kids grow up.
Some parents take advise from others ( my sidewalk theory) and some blaze their own trail and throw advice to the wind.

If you messed up…things show up…sometimes sooner than later. Again, teachers see this in school. I spoke with a Principal yesterday who expelled a 2nd grade girl on the last week of school….WHAT?

My parents told us that they did things because they loved us and also that they knew exactly what to do and no one else really did ( in their opinion) . UH…not so much.

dw

May 24th, 2011
8:49 am

This is retarded! End of story.

Gloria Alred

May 24th, 2011
9:01 am

This sounds like a great idea. Don’t burden your children with your own ideas about sexuality.

Sylvania

May 24th, 2011
9:01 am

Here we go again. Somebody does something that’s extremely different, something that many of us don’t agree with, and because of that they’re stupid. To some of you, because of this, all Canadians are stupid.

I’d love to see how some of your kids turn out when they “grow up”. Probably as ignorant as their parents.

TinaTeach

May 24th, 2011
9:02 am

This seems a little silly to say the least.

Oscar Greasemanelli

May 24th, 2011
9:02 am

This is retarded! End of story.

+1

Logic 88

May 24th, 2011
9:05 am

This is the dumbest idea I’ve heard.

I know the parents have to be democrats.

motherjanegoose

May 24th, 2011
9:14 am

Sylvania…mine are almost 19 and almost 24…this week and next,,,teacher’s kids who were born at the end of the school year…LOL. They are FAR from perfect, as I am, but have never been called ignorant by teachers, neighbors, friends, employers etc. I find the blog topic weird. Did I say stupid?

Peanut Scab

May 24th, 2011
9:22 am

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

I’m thinking his head is between his legs.

Cammi317

May 24th, 2011
9:49 am

This is sad and disturbing. Doesn’t Canada have some sort of Child Protective Services Agency? If so, they need to investigate.

jarvis

May 24th, 2011
9:50 am

They are somewhat right. His/her sex will have very little input into the person he/she becomes. Storm will be a f’ed up no matter the gender.

Ajaylove

May 24th, 2011
9:51 am

I try not to ridicule others for their personal choices, but that is down right weird. Poor kids.

JOD

May 24th, 2011
9:58 am

@Jeff – That’s HORRIBLE. What a shame.

This is just too weird. Perhaps the parents ate too many mushshrooms back in the day. I hope these kids have other role models in their lives that will provide active guidance instead of letting them ‘figure out’ everything on their own.

jarvis

May 24th, 2011
10:03 am

Logic 88, they are Canadian. Their political parties don’t work like that.
I love being American, but it makes you sound ignorant when you make assumptions that all things are Amercian.

Cammi317

May 24th, 2011
10:13 am

The more I think about this the angrier it is making me. They are purposely setting these children up to be ridiculed. Parents are supposed to guide children. They claim that the children have been picking out their own clothes since 18 months, but at that age they can only pick out what you put before them. They don’t wander from rack to rack looking at clothes. So these “parents” put the pink and purple clothes in front of these little boys and probably said “isn’t this pretty?” “would you like to wear the pretty pink/purple?” You know this is what they did and set the pattern early on so that their sons would automatically flock to the pink/purple when they got older. The fact that they have been reading 10,000 Dresses to their extremely young sons is a major clue that this is being done on purpose. If these boys were older and made these decisions on their own that would be one thing. These boys have no idea if they want to be traditional boys or what that even means because they are being groomed to be girls.

lori

May 24th, 2011
10:34 am

Oh Cammie, there you go throwing the CPS into it. Now that’s stupid IMO

Kat

May 24th, 2011
10:37 am

At a loss for words, except one – stupid!

Spacey

May 24th, 2011
10:53 am

I don’t know what is worse! The unschooling or the ungendering.
At least teach them the basics.
They will need jobs one day to pay for their therapists and piercings.

JATL

May 24th, 2011
11:04 am

Morons! My two year old boy loves Disney Princesses and Barbies, but he’s quite aware that he’s a boy! How about letting your kids decide as they grow but not turning them into freaks because of YOUR selfish ideas of socialization (and a deep desire for publicity, noteriety and a book or tv deal).

Canadian parent

May 24th, 2011
11:24 am

Hey we don’t like you’s guys makin fun of us eh…..You can’t even keep a hocky team in town you hosers.

motherjanegoose

May 24th, 2011
11:39 am

Is it hocky or hockey? I am thinking the Canadians might know how to spell it?

Outta’ here for now…y’all have fun!

DB

May 24th, 2011
11:39 am

Sylvania: My kids are 20 and 22. No piercings, tattoos, attention-grabbing hair color or years of therapy as they try to figure out their sexual identity. They have their circles of friends who are awesome, and range from struggling musicians to medical/law school students. They each have healthy relationships with people they care about. One graduated from one of the top universities in the country a couple of weeks ago, finishing in four years with a double major. The other is on track to finish in four years. They’ve never been arrested, DUI’d, smoked or fooled with drugs.

So, when I opine that the aforementioned parents are screwing up their kids with their flakey ideas of social engineering — I am pretty confident that I have some successful parenting experience to back up my opinion. There are many, many ways to raise a child to have freedom of expression without screwing around with a very basic building block of identity.

DB

May 24th, 2011
11:46 am

Plus, I have to say it: Parents who are narcissistic enough to think that they, alone, all by themselves, can undo millions of years of biological gender identification with a pink boa and purple clothes, ARE idiots. Just think of all those patriarchal societies where men gnashed their teeth over not having a male heir. Gee! If only THEY had been smart enough to simply take one of their daughters and raise her as a male! Problem solved!

Just wait until these kids’ hormones kick in . . .

catlady

May 24th, 2011
11:47 am

You don’t have to ignore your gender to grow up to be what you want. If you are female, you will be whatever you want to be, but your body is female. If you are male, you will grow up to be whatever you want to be, but your body is male.

If you grow up with stupid parents, however, you have a good chance of being stupid!

catlady

May 24th, 2011
11:53 am

MJG–maybe it is hockie! After all, we don’t want to mess it up with our preconceived notions of how it should be spelled! Just let it choose how it should be spelled! LOL

HB

May 24th, 2011
12:27 pm

Theresa, there are some inaccuracies in your post and questions. The parents are not revealing the child’s sex — to say they are not revealing gender is incorrect. Sex is biological. Gender is about social constructs (dressing girls in pink, boys in blue, giving dolls to girls, trucks to boys, curling girls’s hair, cutting boys’, etc). Basically, they are choosing not to assign gender to their children based on sex, and are trying to prevent others from doing so to the youngest by not revealing the child’s sex. I think these people are really out there, but they are not ignoring or hiding gender, from what I can tell. They are leaving it up to the kids to determine and are going to extreme lengths to keep others from placing gender expectations on their kids.

Canadian parent

May 24th, 2011
12:43 pm

Hey we’re not dumb Y’ALL!

JJ

May 24th, 2011
12:54 pm

I don’t know….it sounds to me like these two “adults” don’t really want to parent their kids, or guide them through life. I don’t know how anyone could let an 18 month old pick out their own clothes.

I wonder what meal times are like in that house? Cookies for breakfast lunch and dinner?

jarvis

May 24th, 2011
1:07 pm

TWG, I just sent you an email with an article I thought you might find interesting.

Mike

May 24th, 2011
2:43 pm

When they named their first kid after a Transformer, that should have been the first warning sign that these two clowns were a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal.

These poor kids.

Peanut Scab

May 24th, 2011
3:47 pm

jarvis
May 24th, 2011
1:07 pm

TWG, I just sent you an email with an article I thought you might find interesting.

And you had to share this with us because?

jarvis

May 24th, 2011
3:54 pm

Because I knew that 2.5 hours later you’d be trolling for a way to make yourself feel better about you.

motherjanegoose

May 24th, 2011
5:43 pm

@Peanut…you are welcome to join us. Grow up. This is just the way we do things around here.
Jarvis is not the only one who has posted such!