Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Canadians Try to Raise and Genderless Child

Canadian Parent Central reports on a couple trying to raise a genderless child, in part, by refusing to tell anyone their baby's sex.
Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby.

While there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, they aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.
The only people who know are Storm’s brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby in a birthing pool at their Toronto home on New Year’s Day.
“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?’” says Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table.
“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.
When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “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? ...).”

Raise your kids however you want, just please don't name them Storm, Jazz, and Kio. One day, I'll have to call a class roll and keep a straight face. These are children, not American Gladiators, compact cars, or smart phones.

I will say, though, that this this experiment in child-rearing only "works" if the parents keep a completely blank slate. That doesn't seem to be the case. These parents (probably) model a particular set of progressive, semi-androgynous gender roles to their kids and (probably) work to exclude or downplay their exposure to traditional gender behaviors. In reality, they aren't raising baby Storm to be free to choose his or her own identity; they have simply substituted one pattern of socialization for another. That's their prerogative as his/her parents, but that's not how they have represented their project.

No comments:

Post a Comment