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Boy or Girl? 4-Month-Old Being Raised Genderless

By Monica Bielanko |

Is gender really THAT important?

The minute you announce your child’s sex you’re bombarded with an endless parade of gender-specific clothing and toys.  This blue and pink extravaganza is something I’ve always struggled with.  I don’t want my daughter conditioned to be a girly-girl just as I don’t want my son to think that he has to be an athlete.  That’s why I find one Canadian couple’s decision to raise their child genderless fascinating.

Storm is 4-months-old.  The beautiful baby has adorable chubby cheeks, bright blue eyes and blond hair that could belong to either a boy or a girl.  But as the Toronto Star reports, there is nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia.  It’s just that Storm’s parents – David Stocker and Kathy Witterick  – have chosen not to reveal their child’s gender.

It began as a offhand remark. “Hey, what if we just didn’t tell?” And then Stocker found a book in his school library called X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould. The book, published in 1978, is about raising not a boy or a girl, but X. There’s a happy ending here. Little X — who loved to play football and weave baskets — faces the taunting head on, proving that X is the most well-adjusted child ever examined by “an impartial team of Xperts.”

“It became so compelling it was almost like, How could we not?” says Witterick.

The only people who know are Storm’s two brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, and a couple of family friends including the midwives who delivered Storm.  The couple tells Toronto Star reporter Jaymie Poisson, they plan to keep Storm’s sex a secret as long as Storm, Kio and Jazz are comfortable with it.

“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” Witterick says.  That’s why she sent the following email to friends and family after Storm was born:

“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? …).”

Family and friends support the the decision but struggle with how to explain the gender-free baby to others.  They also worry the children will be taunted because of their parents’ decision.

So what prompted the Stocker’s unusual decision?  The couple says they want to free their children from social norms and the rules of society.  Being genderless, they believe, is giving their children the ultimate choice to be who they want to be.  Some say the parents decision will backfire and ultimately alienate their children from their peers.

A valid point.  The couple has been experimenting with gender identity for years and their 4-year-old, Jazz, is already well-acquainted with the ridicule of those who don’t understand why he has long hair and likes the color pink. Jazz and Kio pick out their own clothes and decide whether or not to cut their hair.  Just this week Jazz picked out a pink dress which he says he loves because it “really poofs out at the bottom. It feels so nice.”  Jazz also keeps his long hair in three braids, two in the front and one in the back.  He loves to paint his fingernails.  He also wears a sparkly pink stud in one ear. His choice, his parents don’t even wear jewelry or nail polish. Society has conditioned us to think this is feminine behavior that probably means the little boy is “gay”.  But stop and think about it.  Why is pink a feminine color?  Why is nail polish girly?  Because society tells us it is.  Yet, when you give a child freedom to choose what they want to be, what really is wrong with a boy liking sparkles? They’re sparkly!

Jazz’ younger brother Kio keeps his curly blond hair long too and loves the color purple. “As a result, Jazz and now Kio are almost exclusively assumed to be girls,” says Stocker, adding he and Witterick don’t out them. It’s up to the boys to correct assumptions about their gender.

That may be why the third time around, the Stocker and Witterick figured they could really give their child a blank slate by not sharing his or her gender.  “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.

On the one hand I applaud the parents’ bravery in confronting a society riddled with gender identity assumptions that pigeon-hole so many of us but, much like the kids’ grandparents, I also wonder whether the social experiment is causing more harm than good to the children.  For example, Jazz is old enough to go to school but wants to stay home because the other kids’ reaction to his choice of pink and his long, braided hair upsets him.

Witterick and Stocker admit that there are days when their decisions are exhausting.  “We spend more time than we should providing explanations for why we do things this way…I regret that (Jazz) has to discuss his gender before people ask him meaningful questions about what he does and sees in this world, but I don’t think I am responsible for that — the culture that narrowly defines what he should do, wear and look like is.”

I fully believe in supporting gender-creative children.  I also think that society makes this virtually impossible from the moment you announce your child’s gender.  However, I don’t know that keeping a child’s sex hidden doesn’t hinder the child more than help.  As Diane Ehrensaft, a psychologist points out, Storm’s parents are denying the child a way to frame himself or herself in a world where you are either male or female, which could do exactly what they’re trying to avoid. “I believe that it puts restrictions on this particular baby so that in this culture this baby will be a singular person who is not being given an opportunity to find their true gender self, based on also what’s inside them.”

When asked what psychological harm, if any, could come from keeping the sex of a child secret, Dr. Ken Zucker, considered a world expert on gender identity says: “One will find out.”

While I love the concept, I don’t think the benefit outweighs the negative repercussions, at this point and time in the world.  Like Madeline Holler over at Strollerderby says, keeping a baby’s gender a secret sounds like a huge pain. Isn’t one of the benefits of having grandparents around is so you can delegate diaper-changing? Also, how does the 2-year-old not spill the beans?  I mean, c’mon!  You don’t think Grandma and Grandpa have pumped the toddler for info?  Regardless, I will definitely stay tuned to see how this family’s journey turns out.

What do you think?  Is this couple really onto something or is it just some ridiculous hippie experiment that will ultimately cause their children more problems than gender-stereotyping ever would?  Is it that important to know someone’s gender?

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About Monica Bielanko

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Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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59 thoughts on “Boy or Girl? 4-Month-Old Being Raised Genderless

  1. Stacia says:

    Neat to read this- it would be HARD to live it. But really, sex is physical/anatomical and gender is SOCIETAL and a conscious decision. Let Storm play Barbie or Trucks and not be judged because that’s not what their “gender” does. ;)

  2. Sarah says:

    How does one survive without gendered pronouns? I deeply appreciate the spirit of this but it does feel a bit like sacrificing your child on the altar of cultural protest.

  3. Robin says:

    I think that these parents should be proud of what gender their child is instead of hiding it like it is some kind of shame! I am proud to be the mother of two girls and the aunt of two nieces. My family is all girls, and even though everyone has an opion on what we should want my unborn baby to be, when we find out next month, boy or girl, I will proudly shout it from the rooftops! I am proud of all my kids, their gender is a part of who they are, but it is not all that they are! Be proud of your kids and love them no matter what!

  4. Pam says:

    I worry what the repercussions are later when they are older… Even if the boys do not turn out to be homosexual I wonder how his wife will feel when he puts on the “pink poofy dress cause its feels awesome”? It’s concerning… and def interesting to say the least.
    ~P~

  5. Stacy says:

    This is definitely an interesting story, almost something like you’d expect in a movie. I am concerned, too, with how this is going to affect the children later on. This cruel world is not very forgiving and I don’t think in this era/generation that it’s necessarily the most appropriate time to try something like this on for size. If the one son is already experiencing apprehension with school because other kids don’t understand him then the parents are accomplishing just what they wanted to avoid. I believe they could’ve approached this topic in a much less shocking way that would’ve been better for their children. I can see this is going to backfire later on, if this continues, their children are going to use their parents philosophy against them in daunting ways. I just hope the poor children are able to thrive and flourish through all of this. Good luck to them all.

  6. tati says:

    POor kids … When your baby its a boy or girl you as a parent are suppost to be there to teach them how to dress and what boys do or girls do .. Than when they are teensor adults they decide if the want to keep dressing like that or not … Its not up to you as a parent to give them more problems more confusions and poor lil 3 or 2 year old that likes to dress as a girl .. He doesn’t want to confront society and he is only 2 years old :s ………. Wow scary …
    I wouldn’t do that to my baby .. I will teach him how to dress as a boy and if later on in life he decides to keep being like that good and if he wants to change the way he dress good to its up to him .. But righ now babys can’t ecven think right and do things alone !!! …….

    Instead of waiting your time like that .. Teach them to be good kids , to respet others , to share , sports , insetad of sharing time giving them problems that they odnt dewerce !!

  7. Juliet says:

    Storm’s parents may think they are raising a genderless child, but Storm, like all children, has a unique personality that intertwines in its essence with baby Storm’s gender. We are not simply “outcomes” or “effects” caused by society’s programming or even our genes, but unique and whole beings shaped by something more than these forces. Any parent who has struggled with a child whose personality is very different from the parent’s knows what I mean.

    That said, males and females do have differences that are not caused by society, but by our distinct genetics and the imperatives of reproduction. These differences have been documented in brain imaging studies. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this – why should men and women be “the same”?

    I wish Storm and his parents (I’ve got a 50/50 chance Storm is a “he,” right?) the best. Eventually they will all be faced with society’s expectations about gender, and I’m sure they will handle it fine (as most of the rest of us already do).

  8. Juliet says:

    Oh, and @Pam, I’m sure the boys will find a place where they fit in when they get older, like Reed College in Portland, OR.

  9. Alicia says:

    Pam – Who cares if either brother is gay? As long as they love and respect their partners, who cares what sex or gender the partners are? And if one has a wife and wears a dress, what business is it of yours or anyone else? There is a large number of men who are straight but are cross dressers. Some have wives and girlfriends who support that. I would support my husband if he was a cross dresser, because it’s just dressing up. Stop and think: It is people like you who these parents are talking about it and pushing against. It’s people like you with your attitude that work so hard to stifle peoples’ true selves and end up just hurting them and pissing them off. How about you worry about yourself and stop worrying how others approach gender. (By the way, there are several Asian and Pacific Islander groups that celebrate a third gender, and they are all fine, thank you very much.)

    As for the story, those parents are a lot more dedicated than me! I would grow tired of having to explain in no time! We tried our best to not place gender expectations on our son, and on his own he realized he likes sports, guns, and “typical American male” things. But he also loves to dance, paint his nails, and a few “girly” things, and we don’t discourage him from any of it. It’s up to him what he likes and doesn’t. (Though I do confess that I’ve shaved his head during the summer just because he fights me washing his hair! But I would do the same to a daughter if she wanted it.)

  10. Jenna says:

    We live in a society where it “is” gender specific. Bathrooms, underwear, schools, the list goes on. I guess I’m just realistic. I have one boy and one girl and I have never forced either of them to conform to their sex. What happens when this child grows up? Will he or she be confused?

  11. Corey M. says:

    I wonder if the children even know if they are “boy or “girl” Do their parents tell them and discuss what being a by mean or girl means in regards to genitals? How will the children cope growing up in a gender bias society? How will they fill out applications or things that ask what gender they are? It just poses a lot of unanswered questions. I think the parents are making a lot of decisions for their children when they think they are giving their children options. They are choosing a life style for their kids that their kids may not want. What if their kids like to be “boyish” or “gilry?” I wonder in their parents would be happy with their kids choosing to follow society gender norms? God chose children o be one gender or the other for a reason. I have two boys and they love to play with dolls and carry around a little purse but a the same time I will not deny them things that are of their own gender as well. Little kids like things from both gender no matter if you raise them as one specific gender or not. Both my boys have a very “boysih” themed room and dress very “boyish” but still like dolls and purses. It’s only until they reach school that gender is pushed on them. If the parents don’t shy their boys away from playing with dolls or their girls away from sports they can be raised a specific gender without following social norms.

  12. Sarah says:

    This is great in concept. Not so great in theory. As parents it is our job to raise our children to be competent and contributing members of society. Really, I could careless if my son wants to play with his sister’s dolly while she smashes his trucks together. But, you have to draw the line somewhere. What bothers me is how are you teaching your child to make choices, good or bad. You go shopping with your son and its time to buy summer clothes so you let him buy the pink dress. He wants his ear pierced so you run him down to the mall to get it done. When does not stifling your child’s creativity turn into bad parenting. My 3.5 year old son wanted to open the oven the other day. You know what, I squashed his free thinking creativity right there because its DANGEROUS, not because he is a boy. If your 4 year old asked for a beer or perhaps wanted to jump out their bedroom window would you stifle their creativity then?

  13. nicole says:

    THIS IS ABOUT THE STUPIDEST SHIT I HAVE EVER HEARD OF!

  14. Kim says:

    I worry that this will cause problems later for the kids, much like Jazz’s apprehensions about going to school are already a problem. Being social is also part of the human experience, and his not wanting to be around other kids because they don’t understand him is going to hinder his social development dramatically. I have a 4 year old daughter, but she’s no “girly girl”. From an early age she has loved sports and cars, doesn’t play with dolls and only occasionally will want to wear dress. I don’t expect her to love princesses and such, even though society says she should.
    It’s like Juliet said ” We are not simply “outcomes” or “effects” caused by society’s programming or even our genes, but unique and whole beings shaped by something more than these forces.” I quoted her because I couldn’t have said any better. I do wish them luck with this experiment though. And am very curious to see how it unfolds.

  15. amie says:

    Did they not get the memo, the new Norm is going against what society does now. Guess they are more normal then they thought.

  16. Stephanie S. says:

    Interesting subject matter but all I can focus on is how fantastic a name Storm is.

  17. Kristin Contreras says:

    I think it’s very interesting and hope to buy the book someday BUT they are using their children as a socialogical experiment! Crazy and impractical. Poor children.

  18. Kendra says:

    What if we all did it? What if every human BEing on this planet got up tomorrow morning and decided to simply BE.

  19. DENISE says:

    YOUR PLAN WILL BACK FIRE. JUST BECAUSE YOU AS PARENTS SEE THE WORLD THIS WAY DOES NOT MEAN YOUR CHILD WILL. YOU ARE TEACHING THEM TO BE EMBARASSED ABOUT WHO THEY ARE NOT PROUD OF WHO THEY ARE.

  20. Sara says:

    I think it takes a lot of courage to raise a child that way. These parents appear to be doing a terrific job with all of their children. I wanted to show support because they seem to be misunderstood (at best) by several commenters. I myself would not have made that choice, but I respect it.

  21. Teri says:

    I love this. I grew up playing with GI Joe & trucks & transformers. I wore Camo & black, and hardly ever wore dresses! Does that make me a boy? NO! Does it mean I am gay? NO! So WHY when a little boy wears dresses & nail polish and plays with dolls does that automatically mean he is gay? I have brothers who played barbie & dolls! They are not gay! My sons favorite color was pink. Now he is 17 & wears all black! Kids go through phases in life of likes & dislikes. The reason we don’t see this more often is because we don’t allow it, we assume it’s wrong! We as a society deem it unfit! SO not fair to the child who just wants to be himself/herself!!!

  22. Vicki Arentz says:

    I think I would worry about putting this in the news. There are a lot of strange people out there and it would scare me to think someone may try to get a hold of this baby to find out the gender. I think the choice is totally up to them, but I don’t think I would advertise it. Just saying.

  23. Lisa says:

    I’m just wondering why it is so wrong to have gender differences? If we were created different physically why can’t we function differently? Why is it such a problem to go along with society’s influence as long as they are not morally wrong? Parenting is about influence just as much as society. Will the next thing be we shouldn’t parent our children, we should just let them choose the way they want to behave?

  24. Carri says:

    I am sorry to put a plug in this little genderless thing.. But eventually you will have to start considering that this child has to go to school and you can’t keep the gender a hidden fact forever. Its crazy.. I do agree that this plan will back fire on you because if fact you are teaching your child to be e embarrassed about his/her sexuality. We need to teach our kids to be proud of who they are and not embarrassed about his/her sexuality. Its wrong! And its important for children to have socialization without it how are they to learn to communicate and relate to others? They teach that in preschool and kindergarten.

  25. MostNamesAreSexist says:

    Most of the issues with not naming a child seem to be associated with SOCIETIES lack of ability to deal with judging the person, not actually issues with the child. From my perspective, this seems then to be an issue= with society and its norms, not an issue with raising a genderless child. In that case, go parents, kiss ass society.

  26. jeneria says:

    I think it’s an interesting concept and I applaud them for not giving in to the Disney genderification that seems to rule this country. Nothing is sadder than a little boy who won’t play games where they can’t be the strong manly man except maybe a smart inquisitive little girl playing stupid because that’s what a “Disney princess” does. And why are we trying to assign sexuality to children? How is it possible for a kid to be gay or not when they don’t even fully understand sex? Let them be kids, for fuck’s sake! It’s not like the parents don’t let the kids pee the way their biology intended. The boys have long hair and want to wear dresses. Why is that an issue? It’s not, except for adults who want to freak out at the possibility that someone might be born gay.

  27. Ron says:

    All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

    From ages four to eleven, each child is learning how to be male or female and about what being male or female means about their relationships with others. Toys, games, books, and friends revolve largely around gender. Considerable controversy has been aroused of late around such terms as sexism, feminism, and machismo, as if there is something wrong with being too male, too female, or too virtuous.
    There are many patterns of behavior that are appropriate for all people. Everyone, male and female, is invited to examine the character of Jesus Christ and emulate him:
    Among the traits Christ revealed as proper for men and women alike are faith, hope, charity, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, kindness, godliness, humility, diligence, and love. These virtues transcend gender. They are Christlike attributes to which both sexes should aspire.
    We must not be deceived about one immutable truth: there is eternal significance in being a man or a woman. The history of the gospel from Adam to this final dispensation documents equal respect for the roles of men and women and the need for all men and women to develop their gifts to the utmost through living the commandments of God. But within that same gospel framework are some realities about differences between the two genders. This means that there are some exclusive things men are to do and some that women are to do. A most appropriate time for this development is the interlude between early childhood and adolescence.
    “Some people are ignorant or vicious and apparently attempting to destroy the concept of masculinity and femininity. More and more girls dress, groom, and act like men. More and more men dress, groom, and act like women. The high purposes of life are damaged and destroyed by the growing unisex theory. God made man in his own image, male and female made he them. With relatively few accidents of nature, we are born male or female. The Lord knew best. Certainly, men and women who would change their sex status will answer to their Maker”
    There is nearly as much variation within each gender as there is between the genders. Each human being is unique. There is no one model except the Redeemer of all mankind. Development of a person’s gifts or interests is one of life’s most enjoyable experiences. No one should be denied such growth.

    You should provide opportunities for your children to develop talents in various directions unhindered by improper stereotypes. But you should respect the divinely mandated roles special to the respective sexes. Teach your children that they will grow and be happy by accepting these roles and magnifying them.

    Teach your daughters and your sons to seek opportunities to learn and to exploit every such opportunity fully. Girls and boys should learn all they can about every subject within their capabilities. They should nurture and develop their gifts, striving always to achieve their full potential and to fill the measure of their creation.

    Girls ought to be taught the arts and sciences of housekeeping, domestic finances, sewing, and cooking. Boys need to learn home repair, career preparation, and the protection of women. Both girls and boys should know how to take care of themselves and how to help each other. By example and by discussion, both sexes need to learn about being male or female, which, in summary, means becoming husbands and fathers or wives and mothers, here or hereafter.

    There are, of course, realities to face also. Boys must learn basic domestic skills, and girls must be able to earn a living if necessary. In this imperfect world there are the widowed and divorced and those without the opportunity to marry. Their lives need to be as secure and complete as anyone else’s. But for all of the children of God, this life is primarily a probationary existence designed to prepare them for the eternal roles of husband and father, wife and mother.

    By teaching your children these eternal roles, you help them organize their thoughts and behavior around a nucleus of righteous values. These values naturally place sexual interests and information in an eternal perspective. As the child develops through adolescence and enters young adulthood, he or she is prepared to approach courtship, marriage, and sexual maturity with healthy enjoyment and virtuous integrity.

    Gender is eternally important. So, teach children which gender they are and how to properly fulfill their roles as a male or female in this life and in the life to come.

    Thank you for reading these thoughts.

    “Christ is our pattern of righteousness. I urge you sons and daughters of God, who are in the image of your creator, to put your minds in the image of his, and to discipline and mold your spirits after the pattern of the Only Begotten. If you will do so, the Lord has promised that joys will follow eternally, and you need never fear having cheated yourself of what might have been”

  28. Angie says:

    Interesting, but I think it’s a bit over the top. You can have a gender without having a role assigned to it. Just because you are a boy or girl, does not mean you will automatically be _____________. I have five kids–book end boys and the girls are in the middle. Honestly, they are who they are, and it’s nothing to do with their genders. My children love life and the option to participate in whatever it is we are doing is there. They are very well balanced, interesting people. I think that’s the goal we as parents and caregivers should be shooting for. I can appreciate what these parents are shooting for. However, based on the decisions they are already making or letting their children make, it’s clear they don’t have a problem with questions, but it’s just as easy to correct or redirect an adult who is confused with these family’s choice to negate gender roles in the family. I hope that makes sense. Admitting to a gender does not automatically make who you are or limit your endless possibilities and potential.

  29. liz says:

    Ron, I’m glad you brought up the fact that men and women were created by God in his image to be male and female. I was wondering if anyone else was going to when I was reading through the comments. I agree with parts of what you said except for the part about women needing to learn the arts and science of homemaking and men need to learn home repair, protection of women, etc. I agree that there are differences between the roles of men and women but I don’t think that the word “roles” implies specific duties like that. But that’s a whole other issue than the one about gender to which I’m supposed to be commenting on right now!

    Now, about this article. What the heck is so wrong with having differences in gender??? I do not understand this about society. Yes, masculinity and femininity are corrupt and society has led us to believe that to be male means to be a big macho man who sleeps around and does whatever he wants and to be female means to be size zero with a big chest and butt. I’ll be the first to say that I hate that and it makes me sick sometimes watching tv or looking at magazines. But, like I said, I think this is a corruption of what male and female are really meant to be. Equal, but different. We complement each other. Just because females are typically better nurturers and men are typically physically stronger doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Why do people think we need to all be the same? DIFFERENT does NOT mean UNEQUAL. I am a woman and I played with g.i.joes and barbies when I was little, I love sports and can throw a football better than a lot of guys I know, and I also love dresses, makeup, and plan on quitting my job someday when my husband and I have children so I can be home when they’re little. I love that my husband looks to God to be the kind of husband and man he should be.

    It saddens me that people feel they need to basically neuter their child. Genderless people? what the heck is the world coming to?

  30. BatSheva says:

    Each family is entitled to their own opinion of the correct way to raise their children. Who are we to judge? I think this is an interesting concept that they’ve come up with; I wonder though, how long they will be able to maintain it. Boys and girls ARE different, both physically and emotionally. If this Canadian couple feels that society alone makes a broad generalization of how little girls and little boys should be, then I’d challenge them to look at their own fears. Why does it matter that someone looks at my kid and says “oh what a cute little girl or what a cute little boy”
    I am the mother of 10 children ages 30-11. Each of my children have their own personalities, their own way to looking at life and each one has chosen what feels right for them. As their mother, I have raised them with a good foundation and good guidance. That’s what’s important; the foundation and the guidance.
    If we don’t give our kids something solid to stand on (a belief system [roots]… any belief system), then they’ll be no different than a shaky tree trying to weather a storm. It’s the gift we give our children so that they can grow up to be functional and productive adults. In an article I wrote entitled “The Present Gardener” http://www.batshevadrori.com/2011/04/23/the-present-gardener/ I mention that it’s very important for us as parents to be present with our children rather than worry about what they could become or what society thinks they should become. It’s our job as parents to be very mindful and very present when it comes to raising our kids. After all, we are raising the next generation of adults that will set the tone for our society.

  31. Amy says:

    I think this kind of parenting is much more problematic for “society at large” than the children. We live in a hugely gendered society where we have extremely ridid concepts of what little girls and little boys should do, look like, dress and act like. I don’t think we mean harm through this, but we begin imposing gendered expectations on kids from the time they’re still in the womb, before they are even born. This helps US understand the world, by putting all people into categories we know and are familiar with. The child just IS. I agree that these parent’s decisions to parent outside of ridid gender lines is different, and has its own challenges. However, I think that the majority of these challenges have to do with the implications of the rest of us not knowing what do with “just a baby,” rather than a girl baby or a boy baby, or “just a 2 year old. I disagree that these children are made to feel “ashamed” of their sex. Their sex is fixed and biological; their gender is not. I fully support these parents in allowing their children’s uniqueness and self identities to be THEIR own identities.

  32. MCG says:

    I love it! Bravo to the parents willing to give their child every chance to figure out who they are without social pressures (or as little as possible). I had always planned on requesting gender-neutral clothing and toys for our first child, so that we could let them decide who they are, and in a practical sense, use the items again. I love this story and I wish I could hear about more of them!

  33. holly says:

    So the issue is that we push our children to “act” like the sex they were born and they are pushing just as hard the opposite direction. Isnt there a medium?

  34. joy says:

    Wow, this is an awful thing to do to a child. Kids are born with a gender and this teaches them to be uncomfortable with their sexuality. Raise your kids to be proud of what and who they are. This sounds like they wanted girls and got two boys! Maybe adoption would have been a better choice for these people!

  35. Stori says:

    I also agree with Ron, but to add to that what this couple is doing is saying that GOD is not perfect and he did not create everyone in his image. This isn’t just called bad parenting, but they not really parenting. We as parents are here to nurture and teach our children, not let them tell us what they can and will do. What 4 year old tells his or her parents when they should cut their hair or what they will wear. If I let my child do that at 4 years old she would want to wear sandals in the winter and not only never brush her hair, but wear the same dirty clothes everyday. Our job is to teach, not let them rule the roost and run free. I don’t think certain jobs or hobbies are for a certain sex, but I really believe that Adam and Eve each had their own job. This couple does not honor their maker by how they are raising their child, but mock him. This isn’t radical it is sad and very disrespectful to GOD. This just shows us what this world is coming to, lack of morals and values. Now these parents are turning their backs to the same person that created them.

  36. Stori says:

    I also agree with Ron, but to add to that what this couple is doing is saying that GOD is not perfect and he did not create everyone in his image. This isn’t just called bad parenting, but they are not really parenting. We as parents are here to nurture and teach our children, not let them tell us what they can and will do. What 4 year old tells his or her parents when they should cut their hair or what they will wear. If I let my child do that at 4 years old she would want to wear sandals in the winter and not only never brush her hair, but wear the same dirty clothes everyday. Our job is to teach, not let them rule the roost and run free. I don’t think certain jobs or hobbies are for a certain sex, but I really believe that Adam and Eve each had their own job. This couple does not honor their maker by how they are raising their child, but mock him. This isn’t radical it is sad and very disrespectful to GOD. This just shows us what this world is coming to, lack of morals and values. Now these parents are turning their backs to the same person that created them.

  37. beaglemom says:

    My daughter throws discuss and shot for the school track team, is quiet and artistic. My son has taken dance lessens for years, acts in the school plays, is on the local human rights commission and involved in school politics…his father was an Airborne Ranger who played Hockey and Football but has never seen his son do. Daughter likes camping, the outdoors and all plant and animal related interests, Son likes fine dining, hotels and fashion. Daughter wore dresses when she was little because they were easier to climb in, Son chose to wear sport coats and ties to elementary school and golf shirts on Friday. In raising my kids the one important life lessen that I believe this conflicts with is “If you have to hide something or keep it a secret, usually that means you are doing something wrong.” Since the child knows their gender and the siblings and parents know, not sure how this “experiment” benefits the child…seems like a self-imposed family secret…those family secret situations usually don’t end well. Interesting idea in concept, not sure of the purpose in execution of it.

  38. mary says:

    I can’t believe how angry so many people are in response to what these parents are choosing – or not choosing – for their baby. I don’t see how it’s worse than forcing a child to wear clothes and do activities that are “gender appropriate” even though they despise them, which is what many, many parents throughout the western world do all the time. I know so many parents who claim to be uber-evolved and then make off-hand casual comments all the time like “Of course they did that because they’re boys” or “We had to buy all the princess stuff because they’re girls”. For all the comments on how it’s important to “teach gender”, it doesn’t seem to me that the world is such an incredibly improved place as a result of everyone’s teaching.

    The only thing that strikes me is that by refusing to reveal the gender, they potentially turn gender into even more of a visible issue. When I was 4, I didn’t get why boys and girls were different. There’s little chance this child will have the luxury of thinking gender is a meaningless distinction.

  39. Vickie says:

    I think it’s great and wish more people had the guts to do it. Most of you who have made comments against it seem to be confusing Gender and Sex to mean the same, but they do not and thats the point these parents are trying to make.

  40. Anna says:

    Why keep the gender of a child a secret? God made us a man or a woman. God made me a woman and I’m proud to be one. I have a niece who knows she a girl but likes to wear boy and girl’s clothes. She also likes to wear dresses plays with barbies and hot wheels. She thinks it’s ok ’cause she’s allowed to. But she knows she’s a girl. What about when the child goes to the school and the parents are asked to mark is your child a boy or a girl? What will they do then not mark anything? Mainly I believe we should be what God created us to me a man or a woman. Not what we choose.

  41. Christine says:

    The premise that society fashions the gender identity is based on nuture rather than nature, alas it is degrees of combination of the two! In removing the society influence it will not make a person gay or transexual, thats increasingly the domain of nature and the way we are made, not the influences.

    Whilst it may give the child an artistic freedom to express themelves, its not a genderless choice as being homosexual is not dependent on upbringing. Society is (with few exceptions) male & female and critically we have no (or little) choice in our own selection.

    It may well be a disservice to the child in believing you are allowing them to choose at a later date, the decision was made at birth, whether it was male, female, transexual or gay! Its slightly different than accepting the child as one or the other (or both) for that is decision thats not in the parents ability nor the childs.

    Freedom of expression is a worthy goal, deferring gender choice however is not an option.

  42. Christine says:

    In regards to the comment about sex and gender differences, it is confused by most but easiest to explain that ones sexuality has nothing to do with gender.

    Ones biological sex is based upon genetalia and on what is being established as brian sex (if one assumes that the brain is the body’s largest sex organ! There are differences beteen the sexes in how the brain is physically made up
    Gender is who you are, not what you are, it is about your identity not your sexuality!
    Sexuality are what your sexual preferences are (who your attracted too).

    In short Gender is who I am, not what I do.!

  43. anonymous says:

    CPS needs to be informed. this is not in the childs best interest. if you want to do a gender experiment get a pet, not a child. a child should not be used for a social experiment. im just shocked….wow. those parents are looney. if they are willing to do this what else are they willing to do

  44. tracey says:

    oh PUH-LEASE. Stop using your kids to purport your own self importance. I can’t stand parents who use children as a way to differentiate themselves and their status in society. Experiment on yourself – your “celebrating” gender neutrality is nothing but a self-centered gimmick at a poor child’s expense. We’re not reptiles. What’s wrong with boys being boys and girls being girls? There are scientifically proven patterns of behavior in both genders. Why not celebrate our colorful differences instead of trying to make everyone 1 dimensional and beige? Get over yourselves.

  45. a mom of 2 boys says:

    Thiis article actually enrages me. My oldest son (who is 5) likes pink, but I will not allow him to wear a dress…he knows dresses are for girls. Both of my boys have dolls, but they love to play dinosaurs and cars too. I take my kids to get their hair cut, make them go to school…I think its a responsibilty as a parent. I think these parents letting their children dress in dresses, not go to school, and not cut their hair are not fullilling thier role as parents…its horrible when you let your child do “whatever they want”. What do the parents then do? Whatever happened to discipline?

  46. a mom of 2 boys says:

    My oldest son (5) likes to dance, so I signed him up for dance class. My younger one (4) likes soccer, so I signed him up for soccer. I play into my childs interests. My older one likes hockey, my younger one like football. My older one likes to listen to music, my younger one would rather be outside playing with a ball…my younger one doesn’t talk much, my older one likes to be the life of the party…they are different, but they are boys. I am a girl…I danced, but I also played softball. Its just what I liked. Nothing I think, is gender specific unless you are talking about under wear. Oh yeah, girls don’t wear cups for sports either.

  47. LBD says:

    I’m cracking up because this was actually an Onion story back in November 2010.

    Progressive Parents Refuse To Tell Child Its Sex
    November 3, 2010 | ISSUE 46•44
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/progressive-parents-refuse-to-tell-child-its-sex,18395/

    BERKELEY, CA—Citing a refusal to impose limiting social constructs on their offspring, parents Lucas Cady and Kat Loesel reported Monday they will not tell their 4-year-old, Quynn, whether the child is biologically male or female. “Who are Kat and I to say what sexual organs our kid possesses?” asked Loesel, who has dressed Quynn in dull gray smocks since birth and only allows the child to play with toy figures that have been neutered of any conventionally feminine or masculine characteristics. “We think it’s important our child’s frequent questions about girls and boys go unanswered so that Quynn can discover its true sex for itself.” The couple also said that parents should be supportive of children who decide they do not have human genitalia at all.

  48. ana says:

    Sorry for my bad english I´m foreign. I wonder when one of the parents have to change Storm´s diapers, what do they say… I´m gonna change his diapers, her diapers or IT´S diapers? Do they refer to Storm as “IT”??? I think that fact would have a lot of repercussion on a kid´s life to be treated as “It”.

  49. Yvonne says:

    While I appreciate where the parents are coming from, what they are trying to achieve, I feel there are other ways of going about it. We as a society have enough problems as a result of children’s and consequently adults lack of self worth. Kids need the guidance of adults to help them shape up into healthy (body mind soul) individuals! By using this method your kids are going to spend most of their energy defending themselves, fighting with peers and worst… Fighting with their inner self because they’ll try to figure out what is wrong with them. I am no physiologist, but even i can tell you that kids that age can not reason like adults do! Educate them, show then the world and give them the freedom to become self thinking, healthy (body mind soul) individuals. don’t set them up for failure straight out of the gate by alienating them from society! No man is an island after all.

  50. Lindsay says:

    RIDICULOUS! God made Adam and then He made Eve – and He made them different…fact of life. Boy or girl they will grow up to be whoever they want if you raise them right…

  51. Lara says:

    I love this idea simply because this child, for a while at least, won’t be faced with gender prejudgment and attempts to expect (at best) or force (at worst) him/her into the prescribed gender role.

    I especially get a kick out of the idea that people will be frustrated that they don’t know whether to give this child the usual societal male privilege or not. How awful the prospect must be of giving it — however unintentionally — to a girl.

    Most people are no longer arguing that females and males are exactly the same. Rather, the main argument is about policing both sexes into rigid roles and punishing them for not meeting stereotypical expectations. Any individual exists for a purpose and must do their best to fulfill that purpose.

    Shockingly, women are as different from each other as men are from one another — women are not all made to be stay-at-home or primary parents. And many men *are.* These talents and inclinations upset the applecart of stereotypical roles and provoke the rigid. So I say, the longer these parents can hold off this thinking from their child, the better.

  52. Robyn says:

    I can see where the family is coming from in wanting to let their children truly express who they are without the assumptions and societal gender pressure, but they’re doing the same thing in reverse. Their child could lead life as a girly girl or an athlete. He/She might not necessarily struggle with trying to conform to society’s views and therefore, they’re actually undoing their intentions. This puts the child in a position to have to try to fit in to one category. In my opinion, parents can dress a female child as a girl and not intentionally turn her into a girly girl, forcing her into society’s norms. If the child is a female, she should have people refer to her as a female until she chooses otherwise. I think they are taking it just a little bit too far because the psychological repercussions could be twice as bad for the child.

  53. Dede Efromson says:

    In my opinion, this couple has, with the best of intentions, simply exchanged one set of pressures imposed on their children with another. Before the children would have coped with gender biases and now they must deal with another set of biases.. So, what did they gain?

  54. saffron says:

    They are not the first couple to do that to a child. There is a couple in Sweden who have been doing this for three years. I am posting a link for you from the Guardian (very posh British newspaper!) http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/22/swedish-parents-baby-gender

  55. Naomi says:

    Children, including babies are not laboratory mice. It is as if they are doing a social experiment on their children, close family and also their neighborhood.
    Their children will be tolerant and free from all prejudice if that’s what they see around them.
    They can choose for them all kind of colors and offer them various topics to experience.
    We are born with a defined gender (at least most of us) and it is not our parents right to decide to blur this definition.

    They are not wise.

  56. Tabitha27 says:

    I sure hope that the parents did their research before this, here is a link to a story that is somewhat similar. http://www.altereddimensions.net/people/BoyRaisedAsAGirlDavidReimer.aspx

  57. Cheryl says:

    I think we ought to celebrate the differences between males and females as well as differences between us as individuals. I think these parents ought to spend their energy loving their children and sharing the world with them rather than over-analyzing stuff. Life is too short. Just BE.

  58. gs says:

    I just wonder what others like daycare workers will say…

  59. Liza says:

    I find the whole thing ridiculous, these parents a making a mockery of even their friends. What we can’t trust you to purchase something for our child, we don’t trust you that oh you might pass a truck to our son. Their son acts odd, to the point where he clearly acts up to seek attention. There is a fine line in encouraging your children to express themselves in an artistic way but this is borderline juvenile. Like 2 teenagers discussing if they had a child and and switching the words dog for cat for example. Why not just be, be proud of who you are and watch how your children develop on their own. My nephew has always been gay. He played with transformers, doesn’t mean my daughter doesn’t either. If they are basing on being judged by what is between your legs, I think they are wrong. Just like when my nephew announced he was gay – who cares he’s still the same person and really why should I care what the next person prefers to sleep with!

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