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Does your gender define who you are? If so, does being labeled a male or female result with certain treatment of children, which will then effect their development into adults?
Kathy Witterick, 38 and David Stocker, 39 from Toronto, Canada seem to believe so. Witterick and Stocker became the proud parents of their third child, Storm, on Jan. 1 of this year. The parents of three have decided to keep this baby’s gender a secret, until Storm is ready to disclose it.
“This is not a secret without consequences,” said Mike Brody, a child psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., and instructor at the University of Maryland. “This seems more controlling than the helicopter parents.”
The parents justified their decision, “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 wrote in an email to love ones.
Only a few people know the baby’s gender, the midwives who delivered the baby and the child’s two older brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2.
“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 the Toronto Star. Her husband Stocker, 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.”
Does concealing a person’s gender change the way people view them, and in little Storm’s case, will it change the way people treat him or her? With the parents concealing the child’s sex people will not have the ability to label the child as a girl or boy and buy them things associated with that gender, such as dolls for girls and trucks for boys.
“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” Stocker told the Star.
Witterick and Stocker believe children can make meaningful decisions on their own and when it comes to their two sons, the boys have already exercise that ability; Jazz and Kio pick out their own clothes and choose not to cut their hair.
The children do not attend school, but instead are taught by their mother through “unschooled,” which is a type of home schooling that occurs based on a child’s curiosity.
The idea to keep their child’s gender a secret came to the parents from a book Stocker came across, “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story,” by Lois Gould. In this book, the child is raised with no gender and grows up to be happy and grounded. “It became so compelling it was almost like, how could we not?” Witterick told the Star.
But, regardless of how many times people ask, ‘when will this end?’ the couple simply asks the same question, “Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?” they told the Star.