Is it a boy or a girl?
Which cupcake will Baby Storm choose? Image: kristen_a (Merigue Bake Shop)/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker of Toronto, Canada, became the proud parents of their third child, Storm, on Jan. 1 of this year. What makes their story unique is that they have decided to keep their baby’s gender a secret until Storm him or herself decides to reveal it.

A stand for freedom, parents say

“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? …),” wrote Witterick, 38.

Only a few know baby’s sex

Even the grandparents have been kept in the dark. Only a few people know Storm’s gender. One close family friend is in the loop, as are the two midwives who helped deliver the infant. Storm’s two older brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, also know the gender. But at this time, nobody is talking.

‘Is it a girl or a boy?’

“When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’” Witterick told reporters. Her husband Stocker, 39, a teacher at an alternative school, added: “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs.”

Making their own choices

“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” said Stocker.

Witterick and Stocker believe children are capable of making meaningful decisions for themselves from a very young age. Jazz and Kio already decide when to cut their hair and pick out their own clothes.

Children are ‘unschooled’

The couple says their children are “unschooled,” which is a form of home schooling driven by a child’s natural curiosity. Witterick claims it is “not something that happens by rote from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in a building with a group of same-age people, planned, implemented and assessed by someone else.”

What led to parent’s decision

The couple came to the decision to keep the child’s gender a secret when, according to Witterick, their oldest son Jazz was experiencing “intense” gender issues of his own. Stocker came across a 1978 book titled “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story,” by Lois Gould. In that book, a child is raised as gender neutral and grows up to be happy and grounded.

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

Couple answers resistance

When asked about the resistance they meet from others regarding their decision, Witterick said, “We always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”

Sources

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/is-raising-a-gender-neutral-child-a-fantasy/2011/05/25/AGr1mPBH_blog.html

Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110524/ts_yblog_thelookout/parents-keep-childs-gender-under-wraps

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389593/Kathy-Witterick-David-Stocker-raising-genderless-baby.html

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