A Toronto couple has ignited a media firestorm after deciding to conceal the sex of their baby, Storm Stocker. Inspired by the 1978 book X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have decided to hold off from letting the world know their baby’s gender and have only allowed their two older sons and midwives look beneath Storm’s diaper since the New Year’s Day birth. For the parents, this is an opportunity to explore gender freedom, and allow their child to develop free from the potentially harmful pink and blue stereotypes. Their email announcing the birth stated, “We decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a standup to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime.”
Some child development experts are saying that Witterick and Stocker have inserted their
child into a psychological experiment that could be “potentially disastrous”. However, others are commending the couple for attempting to raise Storm outside of the social gender constraints. Director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Eugene Beresin says this sets a child up for not knowing who they are. “To raise a child not as a boy or a girl is creating, in some sense, a freak.” Beresin believes that this type of upbringing sets a child up for “bullying, scapegoating and marginalization.”
It is unclear how long the parents will mask Storm’s sexual identity – if they continue to conceal this information, it’s certain the debate will resurface. Personally, I’m not sure what the big deal is all about – I think the world would be better off with less frilly pink newborn dresses, plastic guns for toddlers, and other such stereotypical gender prescriptions at an early age. Being a mom of a 3 year old boy, I personally think that most boys and girls come into this world with naturally different dispositions and temperaments, but they certainly don’t need gendered toys and clothes to exacerbate these differences – they should be allowed the freedom to explore their own interests without the constraints of gender stereotypes. And why does the world feel like it needs to know the gender of this particular child, anyway? It is no-one’s business but the kid and his/her family. That’s my opinion, what is yours?