Kathy Witterick and David Stocker opted to keep the sex of their newest child a secret. They wanted their child to develop their own sense of gender, to discover their own preferences and not to be branded with male or female tastes right at birth. But when their family-centric social experiment hit the news they felt a wrath of criticism, from experts on the Today show pontificating on their parenting to blog posts here, here and everywhere.
And now Kathy Witterick, who must really be feeling the heat, penned a piece called “Baby Storm’s mother speaks on gender, parenting and media” for the Edmonton Journal. One of the big revelations? She claims that she and her children aren’t actually gender-less.
“None of my children are gender-free or genderless (and neither am I). It is true that my oldest son Jazz does not have a traditional notion of what boys should wear, look like or do. It is also true that we believe our children should have the right to choose their clothes and hairstyle. Jazz has a strong sense of being a boy, and he understands that his choices to wear pink and have long hair are not always acceptable to his community. He chooses freely to do them anyway, because he also has been taught to respect difference, love himself and navigate the world in a way that is true to his own voice. Kio also strongly self identifies as a boy, and his choices around behaviours and image are different but have an equal amount of two-year-old integrity.”
And their third kid? That’s totally TBD.
She also spoke to how the whole concept came up in the first place saying:
“When Storm was near arrival, Jazz was listening to Free to Be You and Me on repeat (it was a gift from a friend). He wondered if people would respond differently if they didn’t know the baby’s sex. What gifts would they bring? If Storm were a boy, would he be allowed to wear dresses? Pink?
There are these moments as a parent when you wish your child could bring a different issue to the table — but there it is, plop! And if you really mean what you say about being kind, honouring difference, having an open mind and placing limits thoughtfully where they help children develop competencies and be safe, then you better walk the talk.
We agreed to keep the sex of our new baby private.”
She continued saying,” Storm has a sex which those closest to him/her know and acknowledge. We don’t know yet about colour preferences or dress inclinations, but the idea that the whole world must know our baby’s sex strikes me as unhealthy, unsafe and voyeuristic.” She concluded saying that, “Storm is my third child and this is what I know — some day soon, Storm will have something to say about it, so in the meantime, I’m just listening carefully.”
Do you think this lends any more insight to why they opted to keep Storm’s gender a secret?
Babble Quiz: Find out where your child fits on The Gender Spectrum